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Neighbors concerned about worsening condition of vacant school

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DETROIT (WJBK) - Neighbors living near the old Jones Elementary School in Detroit are concerned about the worsening condition of the vacant building.

They tell FOX 2's Amy Lange the building has been so vandalized and scrapped over the past year that it's become more than just an eyesore. They say it's also a hazard to the safety of those who live nearby.

Vacant, crumbling buildings are often a breeding ground for crime.

Tune in to FOX 2 News at 5 p.m. for more on this story.

Detroit Public Schools declined to comment specifically on Jones Elementary but did release this statement regarding the condition of some of its vacant buildings:

This is an extremely difficult issue and not one that a single solution will resolve. We are hopeful that the tightened scrappers' law which DPS assisted in advocating for will have an impact, not just for these school buildings, but for all property owners who face this very serious issue.
In addition to the measures in place, Detroit Public Schools has had preliminary discussions with the City of Detroit regarding the use of a portion of demolition dollars for the set of schools that most negatively impact the surrounding neighborhoods. We are also accelerating leases to those agencies who are in a position to make worthwhile use of vacant schools. Our quick action to lease two recently closed buildings (to churches/community groups) has resulted in their remaining secure.
Sales to prospective buyers stemming from the recent real estate conference and other new initiatives are in process or gaining momentum. There are a number of examples of groups that wish to add value to the neighborhood for which the sales are nearly final. The sale of at least one of the long-time vacant sites was finalized 10 days ago.
Finally, a new approach that the district is pursuing involves a combination of deconstruction and securing the property and/or returning green space to the community while creating jobs for adults as well as graduates and students in building trades.
Detroit Public Schools Police Department and other law enforcement agencies have also been active in responding to break-ins and reports of scrapping. In the past six months, DPSPD and DPD have made 22 arrests for burglary (16 by DPSPD and 5 by DPD) and one arrest for EWOP (entering without permission). Another 8 tickets have been written for EWOP.

Jennifer Mrozowski
Executive Director
Office of Communications
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