SULLIVAN, Ind. (WTHI) - A Wabash Valley city is looking to turn a corner, turning abandoned properties into empty lots.
Sullivan, Indiana is cleaning up its town one home at a time, in what leaders say will make for a brighter future.
It's a common sight in many Midwest cities: abandoned homes lining the streets, and Sullivan is no different.
"Years ago there were certain areas of town where you had blighted areas and eye sores, but its like a cancer and now pretty much every neighborhood you go to anymore there are spots of cancer," Mayor Clint Lamb said.
Certain pockets of the town homes damaged by fires or just neglect, litter otherwise nice communities. They bring down, not only the look of the city, but neighbors property values.
It's not just that they're an eyesore.
The buildings are dangerous to children, are breeding ground for animals and a haven for drugs.
That's why Mayor Lamb said, "'They Gotta Go', and quite frankly, we've condemned houses for seven years, six years, five years, the city tax payer continues to pay to up keep the property."
It sounds contradictory: the destruction of homes making way for progress.
However, that's exactly what's happening in Sullivan.
Lamb's "They Gotta Go" initiative began with one home getting torn down this week.
Seven other homes are scheduled for demolition, and it doesn't cost that tax payers a cent.
"We charge the property owner and if there's no property owner we charge the bank that holds the lean so come tax time next year they are gonna have to reimburse the city," Lamb said.
The initial payment for the job is around forty-thousand dollars, using economic development funds.
At the dead end for the dilapidated homes, Lamb said will be new life on the plots of land.
"Maybe its a rental property maybe its a duplex, which starts paying property taxes and also helps increase the values of the surrounding area," Lamb said.
Demolition that is rebuilding a small town.
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