Mount Vernon Begins Fight Against Blight

INDIANAPOLIS – Mount Vernon officials gathered today at the site of a blighted property in Mount Vernon, located at 701 W. 3rd St. that will be demolished as part of Indiana's Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program (BEP).

“Through the Blight Elimination Program, championed by Lt. Governor Ellspermann, we are providing communities across our state with the resources to remove vacant and abandoned homes,” said Peggy Welch, who represents the LT. Governor’s office. “The BEP helps create a clean slate for thousands of properties, uplifting neighborhoods and improving property values.”

Statewide, the program has made a total of $75 million in blight elimination funds available to reduce foreclosures through stabilization of residential property values. Mount Vernon was allocated $793,000 to demolish, green and maintain blighted properties.

Administered by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), the goal of the BEP is not just to demolish abandoned homes and improve the resulting lots, but ultimately prevent avoidable foreclosures and stabilize property values in Indiana communities.

“Mount Vernon has been in the process of redevelopment over the last several years, and the Blight Elimination Program helps us further our efforts,” said Mount Vernon Mayor John Tucker. “By removing dilapidated houses, neighborhoods are revitalized and made safe and beautiful once again.”

The structure at the site of the event today was last occupied in 2002. The home changed hands several hands in the past 13 years and was subject to a tax sale, before finally being bought by the city in a commissioner’s sale in 2014. Located near an elementary school, the house has been a blight to the community and once torn down, will be turned into a green space for further redevelopment opportunities.

The Blight Elimination Program provides local units of government in all 92 Indiana counties the opportunity to compete for funding to prevent avoidable foreclosures through the elimination of blighted and abandoned homes. The funds are drawn from the $221.7 million in Hardest Hit Funds allocated to Indiana. In February 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved the use of $75 million of Indiana’s Hardest Hit Funds by IHCDA for successful Blight Elimination Program applicants. The partnership between IHCDA and Treasury allows for funding to eliminate blighted properties and offer a variety of end uses for the newly cleared parcels, such as green space or redevelopment. All application deadlines have passed.

For more information on the Indiana’s Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program, visit www.877GetHope.org/blight.