LANSING – At the Capitol today, State Representative Alberta Tinsley-Talabi (D-Detroit) issued the following statement regarding the Detroit Future City Strategy document:

“Although the proposal offers our community a plan to address the issues of blight, there must be additional consideration given to recognize certain needs within urban communities, including responsible property ownership and the allocation of taxpayer-based city services,” Tinsley-Talabi said.

To protect current residents, Tinsley-Talabi emphasizes the need for the purchase of parcels for innovative productive and ecological uses to be prioritized based on open or vacant parcels in a block. As parcels are purchased, she believes that parcels should first be made available on blocks where there are no residents. Additional purchases should then be based on blocks with the highest percentage of open parcels.

“We must be careful to not minimize or trivialize the time, money and energy our neighbors and friends have invested in either maintaining property or community gardens,” said Tinsley-Talabi. “Also, to give them the first option to purchase these properties is the right thing to do, and we should make sure the negotiated purchase price recognizes their ability to pay.”

Tinsley-Talabi wants Detroit and state officials to continue exploring all avenues and strategies that will bring resources and opportunities to urban communities. While the Detroit Future City Strategy document offers a new vision, it is the responsibility of elected leaders also to value the commitment made by current property owners. Their needs must not be overlooked as the Detroit Future City Strategy moves forward.

Rebuilding our urban communities requires that the allocation of city services must be fair and equitable. It is unfair to tax payers living in areas where new land use is proposed to expect them to receive services that are not commensurate with assessed taxes. This, too, is a consideration that must be made to protect the fairness doctrine embodied in the state constitution.

Positive, responsible investment in our urban communities will have the greatest positive impact.

“I understand the need to create a workable land use plan for Detroit,” Tinsley-Talabi said. “I agree that tough decisions need to be made. Nevertheless, we must also recognize that current property owners can play a vital role in workable land use solutions. As your state representative, I will continue to work with local and state authorities to ensure our urban investment strategies give proper consideration to responsible property owners.”