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Michigan plans to fight blight in 12 cities across state using $75 million in federal funding

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LANSING, Michigan — Michigan plans to fight blight in 12 cities using $75 million in federal funding, the latest in a series of efforts to deal with vacant and dilapidated buildings across the state.

The plans, created by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, will help fund work in Detroit, Ecorse, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Inkster and River Rouge in Wayne County as well as Adrian, Ironwood, Jackson, Lansing, Muskegon Heights and Port Huron.

"For too long, blight has driven down property values and stifled growth in some of our communities," Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement.

Snyder's office last week announced that the state's plans to use the $75 million were approved by the U.S. Treasury Department. Eligible cities were selected by MSHDA based on an evaluation system that included residential housing vacancy rates.

"This federal, state and local partnership demonstrates a commitment to revitalizing our cities and to addressing the damaging effects caused by vacant and blighted properties," said U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin.

The money is from $498 million the state was allocated in 2010 as part of the "Hardest Hit" program, designed to help homeowners in states that suffered the most from the housing crisis.

MSHDA is scheduling meetings with city officials this month to discuss the process for submitting strategic blight remediation plans, designating at-risk areas within city limits, estimating project costs and establishing a timeline for the work to proceed.

The program will help curb foreclosures, stabilize property values and help revitalize cities, said Wayne Workman, MSHDA's acting executive director.

The plans follow the 2013 kickoff of a major blight-removal effort for the state. For that work, MSHDA got federal approval to use $100 million of its "Hardest Hit" fund allocation for blight elimination in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw, Grand Rapids and Pontiac.


Online:

http://www.michigan.gov/mshda

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