Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann joined city and state officials Friday in East Chicago for a Blight Elimination Program event. Funds were awarded to the city to demolish and improve more than 60 blighted properties.

April 10, 2015

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann joined East Chicago officials today to watch a blighted property in the Indiana Harbor neighborhood located at 1915 Broadway St. be demolished as part of Indiana’s Hardest Hit Fund Blight Elimination Program (BEP).

“The Blight Elimination Program assists Indiana municipalities in their efforts to remove blighted properties that depress property values and endanger neighborhoods,” said Lt. Governor Ellspermann. “Through the collaboration of recipients and their program partners, cities and towns around our state will see 4,000 houses demolished in support of efforts for neighborhood revitalization along with a reduction in area foreclosures.”

Statewide, the program has made a total of $75 million in blight elimination funds available to reduce foreclosures through stabilization of residential property values. Today’s demolition is among the first in the City of East Chicago, to which Indiana allocated $1.5 million under BEP. These funds will be used to demolish and green approximately 62 blighted properties in East Chicago.

“Indiana’s Blight Elimination Program is a helpful tool in the fight to prevent avoidable foreclosures,” said Mark McArdle, U.S. Treasury Chief of the Homeownership Preservation Office. “Through Indiana’s efforts, neighborhoods like East Chicago that have experienced the negative effects of vacant and blighted properties will soon see the benefit of these federal funds. We are proud to continue to work with the leadership of Indiana in their efforts to revitalize and stabilize hard hit communities.”

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.

“I am honored and excited to be part of the Blight Elimination Program. This program fits hand-in-hand with many of the goals and visions I have for redeveloping East Chicago,” said East Chicago Mayor Anthony Copeland. “The removal of these properties will help reduce crime, improve safety, prevent foreclosures and increase residential property values while making room for progress. I look forward to a better East Chicago through blight elimination.”

After today’s activities, the East Chicago Redevelopment Commission will maintain the property as green space until a suitable development opportunity is identified.

The property is located in the Indiana Harbor neighborhood, an area in which the City of East Chicago has invested significant resources. It was chosen due to multiple building and code enforcement violations issued for the property. Local law enforcement also has been dispatched to the property.

“This is the first time that the City of East Chicago has experienced such movement and activity relative to unsafe structures and demolition,” said East Chicago Building Commissioner Winna Guzman. “This brings excitement and enthusiasm to the City, as it will definitely impact every neighborhood, business, visitor and resident. Thank you to IHCDA for creating this opportunity, and allowing the City of East Chicago to partake in such a worthy endeavor.”

The Blight Elimination Program provided 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. IHCDA anticipates that the BEP will fund the demolition of approximately 4,000 blighted properties. All application deadlines have passed.

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

About the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority: The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA), chaired by Lt. Governor Ellspermann, provides housing opportunities, promotes self-sufficiency and strengthens communities in order to build an Indiana with a sustainable quality of life for all Hoosiers in the community of their choice. For more information, visit www.ihcda.in.gov or www.in.gov/myihcda.

Source: Office of Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann

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