Now the land bank is accepting proposals for the house under a one-of-a-kind program for the organization, which has typically sought to either demolish homes or make them habitable, through sales or redevelopment. other means.

“We try to take an open approach to the restoration that we’re looking for,” said Ellie Schneider, land bank’s marketing and strategic initiatives programmer. “We don’t want it to be just a private house.”

To that end, the Land Preserve began a process on Friday to determine what comes next for the 816-square-foot wood-frame house built in 1923. It is in “rough condition,” Schneider said. There is a tarp covering the roof and the condition of the wood is too delicate to support the security measures the land bank would usually take on such a house. A report suggested it would take nearly $115,000 to restore the property, although Schneider suggested another winter could make that task impossible.

Still, Ray’s legacy deserves to be marked, whether the house can be saved or not. And the land bank intends to find someone who will do it. Bids are due by Aug. 19 for “adaptive structural reuse that preserves some elements of the home while redesigning the space for new use,” according to the tender.

Some ideas could be a residency program for activists, a community space to host events or organizations related to Ray’s legacy, an art or architectural installation sharing Ray’s story, a virtual reality experience, or a park memorial that honors Ray.

But Schneider said she’s open to new creative ideas.

“We want it to be interactive, we want it to be engaging,” she said. “It’s important to us that this place be preserved, that this story be told.”

Because the building itself is in such poor condition and it’s Ray – not his house – that stands out, land bank spokeswoman Alyssa Strickland said there was a new opportunity to consider the best way to preserve the site. In an effort to find a use that would benefit the community and allow for spending on the project itself, the land bank plans to sell the home for $1 after reviewing the proposals and determining which is best.

Applicants will be evaluated on the feasibility of the project, their ability to pull it off, and whether it is creative and community-focused, in addition to their experience renovating properties and their connection to Detroit. Schneider said any successful proposal must honor Ray’s legacy and be accessible to the public.

Those involved in the process are encouraged to come up with an alternative proposal, in case the house cannot be saved. The available property will also include the vacant lot where the Action House once stood next door.

“There’s a sense of urgency,” Schneider said. “If the proposal is to restore the structure, it must be done quickly. … We encourage people to have a plan B and to be a little flexible.”

Last year, the house was named to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s “Most Endangered Places” list for historic sites. It gained attention after writer and historian Desiree Cooper and documentary filmmaker Aaron Schillinger collaborated on a project about Ray.

In a statement, Cooper said she was thrilled to have Ray’s legacy remembered. “We hope the winning bid will use its name and heritage to inspire development of the neighborhood in the future,” she said.

Strickland said she sees the process as a test for other projects the land bank might want to pursue. This house is not the first house of historical significance to be removed from a demolition pipeline, and Schneider said it’s possible there are more houses of historical significance than the land bank owns.

“It’s an opportunity to get really creative and find the next property steward,” Strickland said. “Truly, we prioritize the preservation of this site. It’s not about the market value of the property for us.”