Edison Neighborhood Association – Go Green Deconstruction Project
Like other low-income neighborhoods in the nation, the Edison Neighborhood has literally been devastated with tax and mortgage foreclosures in the past 10 years. For Edison, the main foreclosure problem stemmed from landlords refinancing their rental property and then not making the payments, and other landlords realizing the expense of maintenance was greater than the rent they were able to obtain. Coupled with declining property values, these landlords just walked away from these houses. Today, nearly all of these houses are still vacant. They are in such dilapidated condition due to vandals, animal habitats, lack of maintenance, and drug use that nobody will purchase them, even in the County Scavenger Auction for the mere $50 starting bid. Many of these houses, although they are beyond livability, have incredible trim, flooring, foundation beams and other unique materials that can be re-purposed and/or reused in other ways. Taking a deconstruction approach with the goal to reuse all of the materials in home renovations, art projects, landscaping mulch, benches, planters, and a multitude of other uses is far better for our environment than filling up our landfills with usable materials. Our goal is to have only one 40-yard dumpster per house of unusable landfill materials versus the average 120-160 yards of trash put into the landfill with an average demolition. By hiring Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program (KPEP) participants to assist in the removal of savable materials, Edison Go Green Deconstruction teaches some of these folks helpful new job skills while they earn a paycheck and a positive job reference for their resume.