$100 million in federal funds to be dispersed to 5 Michigan cities

By Joanne Marie Hoopes, ClickOnDetroit.com writer
Published On: Aug 20 2013 03:53:50 PM EDT
Updated On: Aug 20 2013 03:56:02 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. -

Gov. Rick Snyder announced Tuesday that Detroit will get $52.3 million in federal funds for blight removal.

Approximately $37.4 million will go to four other Michigan cities to fund large-scale projects to stabilize neighborhoods, preserve property values and fight crime.

The governor announced in June that the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved $100 million for anti-blight efforts in Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Pontiac and Saginaw through the Hardest Hit Fund.

While Detroit will get about half of the funds, Flint will get $20.1 million; Grand Rapids $2.5 million; Pontiac $3.7 million, and Saginaw $11.2 million. About $10.2 million is being held in reserve to tear down additional abandoned properties that may become eligible for demolition during the pilot program and for unanticipated project costs.

"With these federal funds, we'll be able to launch large-scale demolition programs that strike at the blight that is weakening too many neighborhoods in these cities," the governor said. "This aggressive anti-blight effort will help stabilize neighborhoods that have been struggling for years. As the abandoned properties come down, property values will go up, and crime will go down.  That will encourage the people who live in these neighborhoods to stay in their homes and be part of the revitalization of their communities."

The Hardest Hit Fund was created under that federal law in 2010. The $100 million blight elimination program has been designed to further enhance neighborhood recovery in these targeted areas.

"Our experience in responding to the foreclosure crisis taught us that there is a direct link between foreclosure and blight. We sought to modify the program to include blight removal because it offered a more holistic approach to helping our Hardest Hit communities recover," MSHDA Executive Director Scott Woosley said. "We have greatly appreciated the governor's leadership on this issue and the federal, state and local partnerships that have been forged during this process."

MSHDA's team worked with officials from the five cities to pick the neighborhoods and properties that align with federal Hardest Hit program goals, to identify local resources needed and their availability, and to establish a timeline for the work.

They used a formula that weighed vacancy and blight elimination data, among others, to arrive at the award amounts.

Demolition work is scheduled to begin later this month in Detroit and within several weeks in the other cities.

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