Lakeshore News Tonight

Gary, State Seek Funds to Demolish Vacant Homes

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October 29, 2013 — Indiana has the highest percentage of abandoned foreclosed homes in the country.  The City of Gary is responsible for a large part of that startling statistic.

It wants to tear down to build up better communities.

It’s a problem that’s become epidemic in the Gary, and now the city is hoping federal funds will be the cure.

A public forum in Gary this week involved Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson as she hosted Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann and State Senator Jim Merritt from Indianapolis who conducted the forum.  Merritt says, “This is primarily for the demolition of homes that have mold in them and broken homes.”

City officials say blighted buildings and abandoned homes drain community resources and harbor crime.

A proposed “elimination of blight program” is seeking to use federal funds to replace crumbling properties with green space and redevelopment.

The State of Indiana was awarded more than $221-million under the Hardest Hit Program. With those funds, Gary officials hope to destroy some blighted homes, and in doing so, improve property values.

It’s a plan that gary native michael lofton says can find a home in local neighborhoods, “Just kind of needs to go through revival really. It needs to go through revival and be what it was back in its heyday.”

If approved for demolition funds, broken homes could start coming down as early as next February.

By Hilary Powell



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