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A Hurricane without Water: Detroit’s Foreclosure Disaster [Black Agenda Report]
“Sixty-two thousand properties are set for foreclosure, this year, more than half of them occupied. “This could result in the displacement of as many as 100,000 Detroiters, or about one seventh of the city’s population.”

How the ‘Black Tax’ Destroyed African-American Homeownership in Chicago [CityLab]
Allan Blair took Lillian Ware’s home away from her on December 27, 1971, two days after Christmas. Legally, he purchased her Evanston home. She owed $41.57 on a lien for a special tax assessment, plus some fees. Blair bought that tax lien at an auction held by Cook County, in the hopes that Ware, an elderly black woman, would fail to pay off the lien within a two-year window.

Reclaiming The Public Square [The Atlantic]
To hear Clevelanders talk, Public Square is a place you pass through to reach somewhere else. … Despite efforts by some residents to preserve it as a park, including a decade-long stretch in the 19th century when it was fenced off to horse-drawn wagons, roads and traffic triumphed over people and place. … Now, with the square’s original communal spirit greatly diminished, Cleveland has asked James Corner—a revivalist with what he calls a “theatrical flair”—to help bring it back.

11 independent bookstores in Pittsburgh worth browsing (often) [Next Pittsburgh]
Pittsburgh is known as a literary city and our neighborhoods are alive with thriving, local booksellers. Each of these stores has their own flavor, culture and specialties and is as varied as the covers they stock.

As women keep washing up dead, Ohio town fears a serial killer is on the loose [Washington Post]
For years, Chillicothe, Ohio, was known as just another notch on the Rust Belt, afflicted by the same old problems of drugs, poverty and unemployment. …But in the past couple of months, Chillicothe has crept back into headlines for something other than a stump speech. Something much darker. Something evil. Chillicothe is no longer just another Rust Belt town. Now it’s the place where women go missing and wash up dead.

Foreclosures fuel Detroit blight, cost city $500 million [The Detroit News]
56 percent of mortgage foreclosures are now blighted or abandoned. Of those 36,400 homes, at least 13,000 are slated for demolition at a projected cost of $195 million, The News found. The city lost another $300 million in tax payments from foreclosed homes that Wayne County seized for nonpayment of taxes.