Saginaw May Allocate More Funds To Blight Fight 7-12-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Saginaw May Allocate More Funds To Blight Fight 7-12-2010

A handful of demolition contractors are standing by to see when the city of Saginaw will launch its next attack on the hundreds of abandoned and blighted homes in the city.
Earlier Monday morning, one of those blighted homes went up in flames, and less than an hour later it was leveled.
“It's probably arson,” commented Maurice Patterson, with the Saginaw Fire Department.
Fire investigators said the house had been empty for several years with no gas or electricity running to it and had been the target of vandals on more than one occasion.
Saginaw city leaders said they hope to launch a record number of demolitions on blighted houses in the very near future, using grant money the city already has in the bank.
On one street, the three-man wrecking crew will be knocking down three houses in a row.
More homes could be on the list for upcoming demolition if the Saginaw City Council sets aside $2 million in grant money at Monday night’s meeting.
That money is just part of the more than $17 million in federal grants the city has received to fund the effort.
The city expects to tear down about 500 homes by the end of the year. Seven demolition contractors from across Mid-Michigan are submitting bids for the work.
The fire department said the number of firebugs torching abandoned homes is on the downslide.
“The fire load is down with the help of police [and] S.C.E.N.I.C.,” said Patterson. “Arson is being curtailed.”
Citizens can also help reduce the number of arson fires if they see something suspicious by calling 911.
Meanwhile, the fight against blight may be moving to a new headquarters.
The city council could decide at its Monday meeting to sign a three-year lease with a local church to set up a site to deal with any issues regarding blight.
The city would draw from stimulus funding to pay for that lease.
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