News release from the City of Fort Wayne:
City of Fort Wayne awarded $2.8 million to demolish and redevelop vacant properties
(November 21, 2014) – Mayor Tom Henry today announced the City of Fort Wayne has been awarded an additional $2.8 million to help stabilize neighborhoods by demolishing and redeveloping abandoned homes. The new funding is in addition to $4.7 million that was received earlier this year.
The dollars come from the Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program (BEP), which provides an opportunity for local units of government in all 92 Indiana counties to compete for funding to help eliminate blighted homes and decrease foreclosures.
The funding will allow the Office of Housing and Neighborhood Services and Neighborhood Code Enforcement to demolish and redevelop more than three times the number of vacant homes that are normally taken down in a year. The City estimates over 300 vacant homes will be demolished and redeveloped with the funding. The properties will be selected because they are: 1) vacant 2) in extremely poor condition 3) can be easily acquired and 4) are on highly visible corridors (streets and roads).
The City anticipates that some demolition work from the initial $4.7 million award will begin before the end of the year.
Neighborhood associations will be asked to help determine what happens with the properties after they are taken down. Some will be turned into green space; others will be available for development of new homes or a mixture of residential and commercial space.
The program is voluntary. Property owners who do not want to be part of the program are not required to participate. If there are code violations, they will be responsible for bringing the property to code.
The Blight Elimination Program funds will be drawn from the Hardest Hit Fund money allocated to Indiana from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority awards the money to local communities and estimates that approximately 4,000 blighted and/or abandoned homes in Indiana will be eliminated through the Blight Elimination Program.