Michigan Land Bank allocates $1 million in grants to 19 communities across state in effort to reduce blight

HAZEL PARK, MICH. – The City of Hazel Park is working to make one of its oldest neighborhoods safer and more attractive with help from a blight elimination program grant awarded by the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority.

“By eliminating these blighted homes we begin the process of strengthening a neighborhood hard hit by the economic recession,” said State Sen. Vincent Gregory (D–Lathrup Village). “Blighted homes drain our communities and these funds will go a long way towards eliminating these dilapidated properties while fostering new pride in the community.”

The city plans to use the $50,000 grant to tear down seven residential properties in a core neighborhood just north of Eight Mile Road and south of Nine Mile.

The Hazel Park Chief of Police said the targeted area has some the highest crime activity in the city and Code Enforcement officers spend a majority of their time and resources there.

Demolishing the seven blighted properties would improve the public health, safety, appearance, and economic vitality of the neighborhood city officials said.

“Recently, the Hazel Park Police Department released 2015 crime data showing that the city is maintaining an overall five-year decline in crime,” said State Rep. Robert Wittenberg (D-Oak Park). “I am proud that such a great community received this opportunity to continue the work they started and build on their tremendous success.”

In October 2015, the MLB received a $1 million grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to continue efforts to demolish vacant and abandoned structures and promote public safety.

“Eliminating blighted properties promotes public safety, stabilizes property values and enhances local economic development opportunities,” said Department of Talent and Economic Development Director Steve Arwood. “An investment in blight elimination is an investment in the future of Michigan.”

County land banks and local units of government with eligible projects across the state were invited to apply for this round of funding by early February. Grant awards for individual projects were capped at $250,000.

To be eligible for funding, demolition projects were limited to blighted residential structures or blighted buildings in business districts, downtowns or commercial corridors; or demolition of commercial buildings that are part of a development project with funding commitments.

Statewide, 41 applications were submitted requesting more than $3.4 million to fight blight.

“Fighting blight aids in future community growth and revitalization in the neighborhoods where Michigan residents live, work and play,” said MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer.

The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.*

*MSHDA’s loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.