Gary Orders 50 Homes Demolished

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December 5, 2013 — Gary city officials want to bulldoze some crumbling buildings in order to boost property values in the city, yet some residents say there is a bigger problem behind the blight.

Jim Nowacki paid $10 for his property, but it could cost him thousands of dollars to demolish, “The city now has this huge inventory of buildings that are going to be demolished, and it seems like the only value the city is placing on these is the contracts for knocking these down and hauling them away.”

Nowacki’s property was one of 60 structures today the City of Gary considered demolishing at a hearing for unsafe buildings.

His property was spared, and he was given a continuance to clean up his land, while 50 other properties were ordered to be leveled.

This is the third hearing the city has held this year in hopes of ridding neighborhoods of vacant homes, which are fire hazards.

City of Gary demolition coordinator Cedric Kuykendall says,“It’s a very big problem, and it’s a plague in the city.  We have very limited funds.  We’re trying to do everything we can.  Going after grants and whatever money the city can get to clean up the city and get rid of some of the eyesores.”

The owner of one blighted property in Gary says the tax assessments are worth more than the property renovated, so he says he’s going to demolish the homes and sell the bricks.

Nowalki says some people are stuck with a financial loss, “You can’t sell it. There would be no market for a house worth $40,000. No one is going to buy it. So, the only option is to walk away from it, which now leaves another vacant building.”

About a dozen residents showed up to speak with Kukyendall.  Seven were given a continuance to clean up their properties or face up to $10,000 for the city to demolish the structure.

Nowacki plans to submit a plan to demolish his property by the end of the month, “A written plan within 30 days for plans for demolition and that’s not unfair.”

He also says where homeowners can’t remodel, he hopes residents will recycle dismantled materials to honor the historic value of the Steel City.

By Hilary Powell



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