Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

City Gets $1.7M for Demolitions ; Funds to Be Used to Raze Blighted Properties WHO OWNS THAT?

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

City Gets $1.7M for Demolitions ; Funds to Be Used to Raze Blighted Properties WHO OWNS THAT?

Article excerpt

In about three months, people in Evansville will start to see nearly $1.7 million in new money for demolitions at work in the community. That's when Building Commissioner Ben Miller estimates contractors will be ready to begin razing 82 blighted and abandoned structures earmarked for demolition using federal money awarded Thursday. In the meantime, city officials intend to have a public hearing soon to explain the program and hear input about properties that could be added to the list as replacements.

The federal demolition money - $1.68 million to be exact - is part of a pool of almost $19.9 million for which Evansville- Vanderburgh County competed with a dozen other Indiana counties with similar populations. That money, in turn, is part of $75 million the state made available through the U.S. Treasury Department's Hardest Hit Markets program. And that money is part of $221.7 million awarded to the state by the Treasury Department, primarily for homeowner mortgage payment assistance.

That's a key difference between the demolitions for which the federal money will be used and demolitions annually carried out by the city using riverboat money.

While the city's only concern when it demolishes a property is destroying a health or safety hazard, a state announcement Thursday said the federal money is intended "to prevent avoidable foreclosures through the elimination of blighted, vacant and abandoned homes."

"Our program is not just all about taking things down," said Mark Neyland, director of asset preservation for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, which is administering the federal money.

"We looked to end use. What's the end use going to be? What kind of impact could that have?" Neyland said.

The city's bid for federal demolition funds had to come with specific proposed end uses for each targeted property and designated program partners for each. …

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