Marion has been awarded more than $1 million from the state of Indiana as a part of their Blight Elimination Program.

Two counties and six cities were named as winners for the grant money, more than $6 million in total, which will be used to tear down vacant or blighted structures.

“We’re very excited about it,” said Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold. “We got out ahead of a lot of other cities in the state of Indiana when we started taking down blighted properties several years ago.”

City Development Director Lisa Dominisse said the funding will help take down about 50 city-owned blighted homes.

“I think it’s fantastic and 100 percent in alignment with our desire to claim our future through neighborhood and community development,” she said. “We want Marion to be a wonderful place for all of us to live. When you wake up in the morning, walk out to your front porch and look across the street at a shelled out house, you immediately feel bad about your community and, oftentimes, yourself. We will be able to take down approximately 50 city-owned, blighted homes through this program and reclaim those areas of our community.”

The Blight Elimination Program funds are drawn from $221.7 million in Hardest Hit Fund allocated to Indiana. According to a press release from the office of the lieutenant governor, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority estimated that about 4,000 blighted or abandoned homes in Indiana will be eliminated through the program. Thus far $38 million has been allocated for the program.

“Whether communities have identified and received funding for just one house or hundreds of blighted properties, this program will provide an immediate and lasting impact on cities and towns throughout Indiana,” Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann said in a statement.

Seybold said there are many advantages to eliminating blighted homes.

“It makes your community look a lot nicer, it increases property value, it cuts down on crime, it cuts down on fire runs. There are a lot of reasons to take down vacant property,” he said. “We’re pretty excited about the grant and what it’s going to allow us to do. We’ve got about 300 to 400 properties in the community that are still vacant or blighted, and this will help us get a lot of those down. This helps quite a bit.”

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