Elkhart awaits word on blight elimination grant money

City and county are part of third round of announcements for money targeted to demolish houses.

Posted on June 27, 2014 at 4:02 a.m.

ELKHART — Last week, two of Indiana’s largest cities were awarded millions of dollars for the demolition of vacant houses.

Soon, Elkhart and other communities that are part of a third division in the Hardest Hit grant fund will learn how much money will be awarded to combat residential blight.

An application by Elkhart County, which includes the city of Elkhart and other communities, was received by the state, according to Mark Neyland, director of asset preservation, which is overseeing the grant distribution for Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

Elkhart County is among about a dozen applicants vying $19.8 million set aside for the third division, Neyland said.

While $19 million is available for division three applicants, that doesn’t mean that the applicants will share all of the money or that all are guaranteed of receiving any money, Neyland said.

Elkhart County is the largest applicant in terms of population in the division, according to information provided by the state agency.

City officials have expressed confidence that Elkhart County will be awarded a large chunk of money.

Awards for division three will be announced July 24, according to Neyland.

In May, the state announced that five communities from Lake and Marion counties would receive $15 million. That money will be used by East Chicago, Gary, Hammond, Indianapolis and Lawrence.

Marion and Allen counties represent the two largest population centers in the state.

Last week, the state announced St. Joseph and Allen counties, which include the cities of South Bend and Fort Wayne, respectively, were awarded several million dollars.

Fort Wayne was awarded $4.7 million and South Bend was awarded $1.6 million.

About $75 million has been made available for six divisions for blight elimination.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority estimates about 4,000 blighted or abandoned homes in Indiana will be eliminated through the Blight Elimination Program. The state has an estimated 50,000 such homes.

Associated Press contributed to this report.


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