Ishpeming awarded $250,000 for blight elimination

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ISHPEMING, Mich. (WLUC) - The Michigan Homeowner Assistance Nonprofit Housing Corporation recently announced more than $11.7 million in blight elimination grants to 10 cities and counties across Michigan.

“This is a big opportunity for communities across the state to target blight and help homeowners,” MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer said. “These funds can help local governments and partners stabilize their neighborhoods and improve property values.”

The funding comes from $188.1 million the state received from the U.S. Department of the Treasury under its Hardest Hit Fund program in April to further stem the tide of foreclosure. U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow led the effort with Senator Gary Peters and Congressman Dan Kildee to secure HHF funding in the 2015 end-of-year spending bill.

“This funding will provide momentum for communities across the state to continue their blight initiatives,” Stabenow said. “Eliminating blight is critical to reducing crime, revitalizing neighborhoods and spurring economic growth and job creation.”

Local units of government were invited to apply for the funding in June. Communities with a population of 50,000 or less were eligible to receive a minimum of $250,000 with a maximum award of $1 million and populations over 50,000 were eligible for $1 million to $5 million. When the applications closed in early August, 16 communities had applied for $24.2 million -- more than double the amount of available funding.

“There is a great need for this type of support at the local level,” said Mary Townley, MHA vice president and MSHDA Homeownership director. “No one received the full amount requested, but by carefully reviewing the grant applications we were able to make informed decisions that stretched the funding we had to allocate to do the most good.”

The City of Ishpeming, in partnership with the Marquette County Land Bank Authority, is continuing their investment into the community by alleviating blight to improve neighborhoods with its $250,000 grant. Local officials say this will increase property
values within the neighborhoods and encourage homeownership.

“The City of Ishpeming has been an excellent partner in our effort to reduce the impact blight has had in key neighborhood,” said Anne Giroux, County Treasurer and Chair of the Marquette County Land Bank Authority. “These funds will further assist us in our efforts to remove blighted residential structures that have deteriorated beyond repair. We couldn’t be happier about this opportunity to work together to improve values and make neighborhoods safer throughout the city.”

“The City of Ishpeming is grateful for this Blight Elimination Grant funding. Our tight budget does not allow for the demolition of these blighted structures. Without this important help, the quality of life in our community would continue to decline. With this
help, we see hope to stabilize property values, improve safety, and clean up blight,” said Mark Slown, Ishpeming City Manager.