Did blight buster Bill Pulte really decide his work in Detroit was done and it was time to move on? Or did he get shoved out by the Duggan administration?
Lots of opinions are floating around on that subject. What’s known for certain is that Pulte, scion of a family whose name is synonymous with home building, is suddenly out of the home demolition work and has shut down the Detroit Blight Authority.
It’s a strange development, considering Pulte won high praise for cleaning up a devastated Brightmoor neighborhood, where he worked with residents to clear 14 overgrown blocks and was about to launch the teardown of 67 rotting homes.
The official spin is that it was a cordial parting, that with Detroit under better management it’s more efficient to consolidate all demolition work under the city-run Building Authority. The independent Blight Task Force will continue to raise funds and identify homes to be torn down.
Pulte, who wouldn’t comment for this column, got a nice letter from Duggan and said happy things to the media, including that he’s looking to take his anti-blight strategy to other places.
But several sources say Pulte got the George Jackson treatment. Jackson is the respected former head of the Detroit Economic Growth Authority who “resigned” and was replaced by a longtime Duggan ally.
Alexis Wiley, Mayor Duggan’s spokeswoman, told The Detroit News the administration is still “open to working with other people.” But she said “now there is one plan. There’s no more grandstanding.” And no competition for the spotlight, either.
Read more from Nolan Finley in The Detroit News