Evansville has taken the reigns on tackling the problems of abandoned and vacant blight properties throughout the city, especially in the urban core neighborhoods. With the city’s Blight Elimination Program and Land Bank efforts, significant progress has been made.
“As removal of blight takes place, these neighborhood residents have begun to invest in their own properties by painting, repairing, cleaning, and making overall improvements,” says Evansville Mayor Lloyd Winnecke.
The BEP program (funded through Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority) provides funds to help cities demolish abandoned homes beyond repair in hopes to stabilize property values. The Land Bank was formed by the city, using funding to conduct demolitions, maintain vacant lots, and acquire properties for use or transfer.
On Sept. 30, the city reported the demolition of 156 structures through BEP. The Land Bank has transferred 320 parcels to a variety of individuals, nonprofits, businesses, and more. Many of the recently built affordable housing projects in the city were facilitated by the BEP and Land Bank, says Winnecke.
The city’s BEP only had a life of five years (which ends Dec. 31), but plans through the Land Bank effort will push on.
“I continue to fully support the work of the Land Bank as a tool to combat our community’s blight,” says Winnecke.