Detroit considers farm on blighted land

April 4, 2009 at 10:30 AM

DETROIT, April 4 (UPI) -- Businessman John Hantz says he wants to turn blighted land in Detroit into a large fruit and vegetable farm with a cider mill and horseback riding trails.

Hantz wants Detroit officials to give him the land free or at a low cost in return for his starting an urban farm and eventually returning the land to the tax rolls to create revenue for the city, The Detroit Free Press reported in an exclusive interview.

Hantz Farm would create jobs and help Detroit become a destination for fresh, local and natural foods and "a major part of the green movement," said Hantz, who heads a network of financial services and owns the Detroit Ignition of the Extreme Soccer League.

Of the city's estimated 40 square miles of vacant parcels, Hantz, a resident of Detroit's Indian Village District, tentatively is looking at a blighted space near Eastern Market, the Free Press reported.

City officials said they are evaluating the proposal but have made no decisions.

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