Reed City receives blight control funding

HOPEFUL PROJECTS: The Osceola Inn is currently the main goal of the Blight Elimination project. Ideally, the buildings will be demolished and the properties will be made more availble for development. (Courtesy photo)
HOPEFUL PROJECTS: The Osceola Inn is currently the main goal of the Blight Elimination project. Ideally, the buildings will be demolished and the properties will be made more availble for development. (Courtesy photo)

REED CITY — City council members in Reed City are preparing a plan for blight elimination after receiving $370,000 from the legislature.

Reed City is one of 34 local governments in Michigan to receive funding. The program is designed to help demolish local abandoned and vacant properties to increase safety and stabilize property values.

Ron Howell, interim city manager for Reed City said the Osceola Inn is a prime candidate for elimination.

“When talking to council members this was the one building they all brought up,” he said. “That doesn’t mean the building will be demolished soon, we have to receive a proposal from the owner first.”

The owner of the Inn must submit a proposal in writing to the city council which will review it.

“These dollars will help us recycle the land and make it more usable for the community,” Howell said.

Other than the Osceola Inn, Howell is not aware of any other buildings that may be candidates for removal, but he said this will be an ongoing discussion at upcoming city council meetings.

Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart said the money must be used for demolition, not renovation of current properties.

“I was proud to be involved in the creation of the Blight Elimination program, which will use foreclosure settlement dollars to help clear the way for economic development and job creation,” said Booher.

Michigan received $97.2 million from a March 2012 settlement on mortgage foreclosure practices reached by 49 state attorney generals, including Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. The legislature allotted $25 million for the Blight Elimination program, of the $25 million, $10 million was given to Detroit and the remaining $15 million was split among other Michigan communities.

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.

Reed City City Council members will discuss more indepth its plans for the funding at its next council meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 18 at city hall, located at 227 E. Lincoln Ave. in Reed City.