Urban Renewal in Ypsilanti: A Talk by Lee Azus

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In 1952, the city of Ypsilanti took the first step towards an Urban Renewal project to combat what it called “blight” and “slum” conditions on the Southside—the area south of Michigan Avenue. From the beginning, the Urban Renewal program divided opinions in the African-American community as to the best way to improve social and economic conditions on the Southside. Residents were faced with forced eviction, while being unable to move into other Ypsilanti neighborhoods outside the Southside due to legalized housing segregation. As hundreds of homes were destroyed, there was no rush by developers to build new housing or businesses as the City had promised. It was only after 1997 that the last large parcel of land was developed.

Using archival material from the City’s Department of Urban Renewal and interviews of residents, Lee Azus will show images and discuss the history of Ypsilanti’s controversial Urban Renewal program.

Monday, February 29, 6:30 p.m., at the downtown branch of the Ypsilanti District Library.

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