Spot Blight Program off to a good start in the new year

Nearly 3,000 homes were severely damaged by the 2011 Mouse River flood.

Although the 8th anniversary is coming up this summer, some of the damage still shows today.

But the city is working towards full recovery.

The Spot Blight Program allowed the city to purchase blighted, or ‘zombie,’ homes back in 2018, with $800,000 from the Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery.

Just this year, two more homes were purchased, and there are 32 that are currently on the city’s watch list.

Ten of those homes are actively in the works to either get a certificate of occupancy, reconstruct, foreclose, or sell to the city.

Once the homes are city-owned, they will be demolished.

The goal is for long-term stability to bounce the neighborhoods back to life.
After demolition, plans for these properties are still up in the air as the city waits for FEMA flood maps to come out sometime in 2020.

The maps will determine what sort of things the lots can be used for in the future.

“The more important part about this is getting those neighborhoods, the houses out of those neighborhoods, so that that full recovery can move forward,” Mayor Shaun Sipma said. “It becomes not only a health but kind of that social-mental aspect that impacts a lot of the neighbors and neighborhoods.”

Until the FEMA maps are released, the properties where zombie homes once stood, will be green space.
Some potential uses could be land extension for the neighboring landowners, or perhaps even building new homes within the FEMA guidelines.
 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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