Demolition, particularly of historic buildings, is a sensitive issue in Detroit, often leading to wrenching battles between developers, residents, city officials and preservationists. But many residents are now pleading with the city to tear down decaying structures that are attracting crime and repelling home buyers. However, some still worry that the sort of large-scale bulldozing that the city is now talking about will forcibly dislocate longtime homeowners and preclude any chance of a comeback for Detroit.
"The city has never done this before," says Ms. Henderson, the Building Department chief. "We had to make a culture change."
The demolition of the Romney family home is the first of its kind in Palmer Woods, a high-end enclave in northwest Detroit that was developed at the dawn of the U.S. auto industry and housed many of its pioneers.
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