- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

DETROIT (AP) - Neighbors are unhappy about the shell of an abandoned Detroit home that’s been sitting for months in the middle of a healthy block after an artist stripped the home’s facade for an art display.

Ryan Mendoza, an American artist living in Europe, assured neighbors that the rest of the home would be demolished immediately after he removed the facade for his work titled “The White House,” the Detroit Free Press (https://on.freep.com/1Rr93nT ) reported. But the partially deconstructed home, with its exposed beams, falling plaster and rubble, has been left standing for six months since work wrapped up in October.

Neighbors argue that the blight left behind by the artist is worse than when the house was simply abandoned.

“It’s unsafe, very scary and an eyesore,” said Tasha Squires, who lives directly across the street from the ruins. “If this was Farmington or Bloomfield Hills, it would be gone. But because it’s Detroit, people think it’s OK.”

In response to complaints from residents, the City Council in December approved an emergency demolition order on the property, but it has yet to request bids for the project.

“The owner needs to finish the demolition of this house quickly or else the city will demolish it for him and send him the bill,” said Craig Fahle, director of public affairs for the Detroit Land Bank Authority. “This type of thing is no longer acceptable in the City of Detroit.”

Owner Gregory L. Johnson donated the facade of the house to Mendoza for use in his project. Mendoza hired Harley K. Brown, a Detroit businessman, to demolish the home.

Johnson initially wasn’t sure whether he wanted to refurbish the house as a studio or tear it down, and plans had to be put on hold once the weather got cold, so a decision likely will be made next month, according to Brown.

In an email from Berlin, Mendoza said it was Johnson’s decision to either renovate the home or tear it down. He said he paid Brown for the full demolition in case Johnson decided to go that route.

“It was never my intention to leave the house partially deconstructed,” Mendoza said.

“I am frustrated that the neighbors have to endure the ghastly sight of what is left of 20194 Stoepel. … I hope they see things differently once the house does get taken down.”

Several neighbors said they repeatedly prodded Johnson and Brown about fulfilling the promise made by Mendoza.

“I feel disrespected to the max, like we are nothing,” said Beverly Woung, who lives next door to the crumbling remains.

Johnson didn’t respond to requests for comment.


Information from: Detroit Free Press, https://www.freep.com

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