Anderson fights blight, plans 70 demolitions

Anderson city leaders hope a new blight elimination project will breathe new life into the city. (WISH photo)

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH)—The city of Anderson plans to demolish dozens of vacant properties over the next month. They’re knocking the homes down using state grant money.

Anderson locals said the city’s still recovering from General Motors’ decision to close its Anderson plant. Anderson’s population stood at 70,000 in 1970 and, today, it’s dropped below 60,000.

City leaders hope a new blight elimination project will breathe new life into the city.

132 W. 16th street became a pile of rubble Thursday, when a wrecking crew tore it to pieces. Folks in the neighborhood watched the whole thing.

“I’m just tickled to death over it,” Bill Perry said.

“At night, all the riff raff comes out and that’s where they hang out. Sitting on the porches of these abandoned houses, drinking and smoking their dope,” John Scott said.

It’s one of 70 properties city leaders plan to demolish between now and mid-September. The city was awarded a grant of about $2 million a year and a half ago, according to the mayor.

The 16th Street home is the fourth demolition this week and two more are planned over the next few days.

“A little faster wouldn’t hurt nothing,” Davis said.

“It’s kind of uncomfortable at night, because you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t sleep good,” Perry said.

Neighbors point to crumbling porches, boarded windows and overgrown weeds. They complained of more than a dozen blighted properties just south of downtown.

Mayor Tom Broderick said those buildings could meet their demise.

“If they let us know the properties they’re concerned with, we’ll look into those and anything we can do within our financial needs, we’ll certainly attend to that,” Broderick said.

A city spokesperson said city workers find the homeowners and use grant money to acquire the lot. If the homeowners don’t cooperate, the demolition can’t happen.

In some cases, city workers can enforce an Unsafe Building Ordinance to demolish the property if the owner does not cooperate.

If the homeowner cooperates, the mayor’s team works to find new owners to revitalize the property.

“There’s a lot they could do there,” Davis said.

Whatever happens to the property on 16th Street, folks in the neighborhood said it will be a step up.

Comments are closed.