The Detroit City Council narrowly approved a plan to sell 140 acres of land to a company that plans to plant 15,000 trees on the land, the Detroit News reports.
Some residents were critical of the decision to sell 1,500 city-owned plots at a cost of just $520,000, calling the arrangement a giveaway. Eventually, the buyer will use the trees for commercial purposes.
But Detroit Mayor Dave Bing says the project is part of his effort to better utilize vacant city-owned parcels. Before planting the trees, the buyer will demolish vacant buildings and clean up debris on the land at a cost of $3.2 million.
"You've got the city facing its own fiscal cliff, and yet we've had more people coming down in the past 24 hours complaining about somebody wanting to come in and buy vacant lots to plant trees," City Councilmember Ken Cockrel, Jr. said. "It's kind of crazy when you think about it."