LANSING—Sen. Darwin Booher and Reps. Ray Franz and Phil Potvin announced today that Manistee, Reed City and Leelanau County are among 34 local government entities that have been awarded funding to help eliminate blight in their communities.
“Michigan residents deserve to live in an area that has a vibrant economy and is a safe place to raise their families,” said Booher, R-Evart. “I was proud to be involved in the creation of the Blight Elimination Program, which will use foreclosure settlement dollars to help revitalize our communities and help clear the way for economic development and job creation.”
Reed City will receive $370,000; the City of Manistee Housing Commission has been awarded $90,500; and the Leelanau County Land Bank will get $58,500.
“I am happy to see that Reed City was awarded this grant,” said Potvin, R-Cadillac. “This is a great shot in the arm for the community as they continue their revitalization efforts. I look forward to seeing the positive results of this grant.”
Funding for the awards comes from a March 2012 settlement on mortgage foreclosure practices reached by 49 state attorneys general, including Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.
The Legislature allocated $25 million of Michigan’s $97.2 million share to create the Blight Elimination Program to help communities demolish vacant and abandoned properties in an effort to increase public safety, stabilize property values and enhance development opportunities. $10 million was set for demolition in Detroit and $15 million for projects elsewhere in Michigan.
“The outward look of our communities is a reflection of whether local prospects are going up or going down and often it is better for there to be an open space rather than a dilapidated, run-down property,” said Franz, R-Onekama. “These grants will give a terrific boost to reinvigorating hope for future developments that can help the area and people living there.”
The Blight Elimination Program is a partnership between the Department of Human Services, the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. The state received more than 90 funding requests during the recent application phase.
“Cleaning up blighted and abandoned properties can have a tremendous, positive effect on a community and its residents – from safer routes to schools to increased home values,” Booher said. “I will continue to work to help transform and strengthen our local communities.”