Reclaim Detroit workers salvage wood from an abandoned house on Elmhurst Street in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, March 11, 2015. Bryan Mitchell/BloombergReclaim
“It’s like a treasure hunt,” said Craig Varterian, executive director of Reclaim Detroit, a nonprofit group that’s stripped and sold materials from almost 70 demolished homes. Floorboards and joists of early 20th century maple, walnut, hickory, fir and even chestnut are prized for their density and fine grain.
As Detroit ramps up demolitions of vacant dwellings, Mayor Mike Duggan plans a reclamation center in a city-owned building to keep tons of rubble out of landfills and create jobs and merchandise. Recycling would become a centerpiece of the city’s blight-removal effort, which is struggling to maintain funding.
Craig Varterian, executive director of Reclaim Detroit, walks down a hall lined with reclaimed doors at the organization’s office and warehouse in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, March 11, 2015.