BICKNELL, Ind. (WTHI) - Bicknell has been working to tear down blighted homes for years now. This has left them with around 20 empty properties across city limits.
Mayor Thomas Estabrook says, "Part of that process required us to gain title or ownership of the property."
Visually the empty lots are better than what stood before. But the city wants to replace the old homes with new ones. That's where an advertisement in Estabrook's mailbox came in to play.
Estabrook explains, "You'd think it was some kind of fancy government deal where I ran into them at some meeting. Or I ran into somebody they knew or I knew. And it really wasn't anything like that."
Residents in the city of Bicknell got an advertisement for Century Home Builders in the mail. Estabrook decided to call the Haubstadt Indiana company up. That's when they came up with a plan.
Estabrook says, "A lot of the contractors were telling me that one of the barriers they had to be able to build homes inside some cities was the price of the ground. The ground was going for ten or fifteen thousand dollars. It was easy for us to use the ground as an incentive to say we have this, we possess it, we want something to be built here."
Century Home Builders are starting with six plots in town. If you go through the company to build the home, you get the plot of land for free. All in hopes of attracting residents to the small town.
Estabrook says, "We've had a lot of success in cleaning up neighborhoods, repairing infrastructure, and this is I think the next step for us. The next step in really changing the community and moving forward and bringing new breath into it."