More money could go toward South Bend's vacant and abandoned properties

Driving around South Bend they're easy to spot, vacant and abandoned homes that continue to turn some parts of the city into an eyesore.

But, with South Bend’s 1,000 homes in 1,000 days plan, things could be turning around.

The council could approve $2 million for vacant and abandoned homes in 2014.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says the 1,000 homes in 1,000 days plan is currently on schedule and if the council approves it, that money will help them stay that way.

“Addressing 1,000 houses does not mean tearing down 1000 homes,” says Mayor Buttigieg.

It's a plan to deal with vacant and abandoned homes in South Bend by tearing them down, or repairing them.

“When we invest in addressing these houses, property values go up. That means more property tax revenue available to the city, but more importantly, it means more wealth in ordinary home owner’s pockets. That's what this is all about. We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't think it was going to pay off,” adds Buttigieg.

And there are many supporters throughout the city like Karl Edmonson who has lived on this street for about 12 years.

“I am totally for it. I think if a property can be saved and rehabbed, that’s a great thing. I mean, I know some of these were in such a bad state of disrepair that they just couldn’t be saved,” says South Bend Resident, Karl Edmonson.

The mayor says about 60 properties have been either torn down or repaired thus far. Two have been torn down right next to Edmonson's house.

While Edmonson is a fan of the project, he says there are some things the city may need to pay more attention to like the contractors doing the demolition.

“They came in from the front. They totally destroyed the sidewalk. They may or may not have destroyed some of the trees there. They left trash, they left tire ruts throughout the entire property. They actually put tire ruts in the other property so now we can’t get a mower back there to do anything to make this look decent,” Edmonson continues.

But it's safe to say you can see the improvements in some neighborhoods.

For example, with the help of Near Northwest Neighborhood, many of these homes have been rehabilitated and families have already moved in.

They mayor says they have set high standards for these contractors and demand high quality so they should not have a problem going forward.

The council has until the end of October to approve this budget.


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