DETROIT, Dec. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Lower Eastside Action Plan (LEAP) and Hantz Woodlands today announced an agreement that would create a firm structure for open dialogue, job opportunities and sustainable development for LEAP and other partners serving in the east side city areas where Hantz Woodlands is seeking to develop. The announcement was made at an 11 a.m. event at the Northeast Guidance Center at 2900 Conner in Detroit by Hantz Woodlands President Mike Score and LEAP Director Khalil Ligon.
The agreement was developed through discussion with community residents, LEAP and other community nonprofits serving in the lower eastside district, and establishes commitments between the organizations and Hantz Woodlands around development of the Hantz project zone. Included in the agreement are provisions to establish a community advisory group that would advise Hantz Woodlands and assist in recruiting residents for jobs that would provide preferential hiring for local residents, as well as reasonable salaries, benefits and qualifications. The agreement also establishes commitments for the minimization or elimination of pollution, pesticides, truck traffic or noise; and a requirement that Hantz Woodlands offer fair market value to purchase property from existing property owners and cooperative work with property owners who opt not to move.
"We're proud to have formed an agreement that reflects the community's voice and desires, and that allows us to move forward on the vision we've had all along – to work in tandem with residents and community groups to help people achieve their dreams and to build safer, cleaner and more sustainable communities," said Hantz Woodlands President Mike Score. "This agreement was made through more than a year of consistent discussion with community partners and residents, and we look forward to the ongoing work and dialogue we'll maintain with our community partners."
Hantz Woodlands, if approved by Detroit City Council, would plant thousands of ornamental and hardwood trees on about 175 acres on the east side, as well as clean up abandoned homes and vacant lots, turning blight into beauty and vacant land into a tax-generator for the City.
LEAP is a community-driven organization designed to engage people in the process of transforming vacant land and property into uses that improve the quality of life in eastside neighborhoods and surrounding areas.
In addition to LEAP's Khalil Ligon and Hantz Woodland's Mike Score, signing the agreement is Joan Moss, Executive Director, Church of the Messiah Housing Corporation; Sr. Cathey DeSantis, Executive Director, Detroit Catholic Pastoral Alliance; Eunice Peek, Executive Director, Fellowship Nonprofit Housing; Jeanine Hatcher, Executive Director, Genesis HOPE Community Development Corporation; Rev. Patrick Gahagen, Pastor, Immanuel Lutheran Church; Josh Elling, Executive Director, Jefferson East Business Association; Brian Hurttienne, Executive Director, The Villages Community Development Corporation and Maggie DeSantis, President of the Warren/Conner Development Coalition.
"The Hantz Woodlands project is an opportunity for the city to demonstrate its commitment to exploring alternatives for restoring neighborhoods after years of disinvestment," said LEAP Director Khalil Ligon. "We've worked very closely with Mr. Score to develop an agreement that responds to the concerns voiced by the community and are confident in our ability to work with Hantz Woodlands to ensure that this remains a positive for the lower eastside.
"We believe that not only will this project be transformational to our neighborhoods from an aesthetic perspective, but one that stimulates and inspires investments that propels even the most challenged communities forward," Ligon said.
Detroit City Council is scheduled to vote on whether Hantz Woodlands can proceed on Dec. 11th, following a Dec. 10th public hearing.
About Hantz Woodlands: The mission of Hantz Woodlands is to help contribute to more livable Detroit neighborhoods. Our work compliments hundreds of other initiatives in Detroit. Our proposal will provide the city with a cash payment for surplus property, strengthen the city's tax base, reduce city operating expenses and establish cleaner and safer neighborhoods within our proposed development zone. For more information, visit www.hantzfarmsdetroit.com.
SOURCE Hantz Woodlands