Local city fights to remove blight - WNEM TV 5

Local city fights to remove blight

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SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

The fight against blight is heating up in some of the major Mid-Michigan cities including Saginaw.

More than 900 homes were put up for demolition in Saginaw last fall.

One by one the abandoned houses are going down.

Saginaw County and city leaders have been working together to demolish blighted homes in the area. 

Thanks to an $11 million federal grant more than 150 deserted structures have met their demise since the effort began last October.

Some residents want to see more progress made.

"It would be nice if they could hurry up," Joann Soule said.

Soule lives right across the street from a vacant dwelling. She wants it gone as soon as possible.

"It gets discouraging after awhile seeing them there like that, when you try to keep your own property up," Soule said.

 TV5 caught up with county officials to ask them why the structures aren't being brought down at a faster pace.

"Well you know, I don't think it's taking so long. Sometimes it might feel like that to a homeowner if the blight's right next door to you," said Tim Novak, county treasurer.

He said a lot goes into clearing away blight. It's not as easy as showing up with a crew and knocking it over.

"Start to finish it does take a couple of months to pull off," Novak said.

He said his crews are working sun up to sun down. All in an effort to take care of 60 homes per month. He's confident by April of next year 950 blighted properties will be nothing more than a bad memory.

"We are busting at the seams with working. It's energetic. We're feeding off each other, you know folks in the city and the surrounding townships. I mean everybody's excited," Novak said.

Meanwhile Soule hopes that enthusiasm visits her neighborhood soon, putting an end to the eyesore she sees everyday.

"It'll be like living out in the country here. We'll be country again. Maybe they can start building up again," Soule said.

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