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.