Urban Action Grants:

Information on Resident and Business Relocation From Poletown Project

RCED-90-48FS: Published: Nov 27, 1989. Publicly Released: Nov 27, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Central Industrial Park Project to prepare a site for an automotive assembly plant in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan, focusing on: (1) demographic data on the project area, known as Poletown; and (2) federal funding of relocation efforts and the results of those efforts.

GAO noted that: (1) prior to the project's commencement, the project area's population had decreased 61 percent from 1970 to 1980, with a 75 percent decrease in its Polish population; (2) 60 percent of the project area's residents cited abandoned structure and crime problems, while less than 10 percent cited such problems following relocation; (3) the project's federal funding for relocation, site preparation and property acquisition totaled $138 million in economic and urban development grants; (4) 90 percent of the project area's homeowners accepted offers on their residences, and the majority of those that did not accept offers later settled out of court; (5) all residents and about half of neighborhood businesses received additional bonuses from Detroit which exceeded legislative requirements; (6) most residents expressed general satisfaction with their new homes, although the majority cited missing neighbors and friends as a drawback to relocation; and (7) the new plant employed only 2 percent of local residents, because it gave hiring priority to current and laid-off employees.

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