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Tackling the Circle of Disinvestment

This afternoon, a meeting will be convened to discuss demolishing 168 houses spread throughout the city with the Hardest Hit Blight Elimination Program.  Most of these houses sit in area about 2-4 miles from downtown in Center Township, making it an almost complete circle of disinvestment:
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An organization known as Stop the Demolitions, Indianapolis has come forward with a much better idea. Instead of using precious resources to take properties off of our tax rolls and adding yet more grassy lots, we should instead be encouraging investment in these properties.  Fortunately, the city has some intriguing ideas out there, including letting public safety officers living in previously abandoned homes for free after they have been renovated.

Any other ideas for encouraging neighborhood redevelopment would be welcome here, and I would be happy to share them with the Stop the Demolitions group. Indianapolis already has more than enough empty lots.

5 Responses to “ “Tackling the Circle of Disinvestment”

  1. Evan says:

    I think the worst of the worst for abandoned homes (Ones that cant be salvaged) should be torn down immediately well the others that can be saved should come with a 1 year property tax abatement if you invest the money in rehabilitating these homes.

  2. Chris Barnett says:

    Theoretically, the Blight Elimination Fund rules require an “end use” to be proposed for each of these properties. (In Lawrence, we’re planning to rebuild new houses on two of the sites, and hold others for future redevelopment.)

    I think that tearing down vacant, abandoned, tax-delinquent and dilapidated houses can be a good thing for a neighborhood as long as something goes in their place. I am not from the “don’t ever tear a house down” school. Some are not only obsolete, but structurally compromised and utterly devoid of redeeming features.

    I believe that in order to attract some first-time buyers back to Center Township, we need to offer people a new, smaller, more energy-efficient city home built using infill construction guidelines (roofs, setbacks, porches, overhangs consistent with existing homes). A new home can offer modern materials and practices (i.e. large open first-floor plans, plenty of closet space, modern bathrooms, fiber-cement siding, high-efficiency water heaters and HVAC, extra insulation) and a warranty, instead of a big old rehabbed house with a leaky 6-foot-tall brick basement and a one-car garage that barely holds a car.

    • That is the first I’d heard that the Blight Elimination Fund (theoretically) requires an end use. That is good to hear.

      I do think there are probably some houses that are beyond hope that are on this list, but there also may be others that are not. Maybe there could be a compromising middle ground on this issue.

  3. JJ says:

    I’m an Indianapolis tax payer and I think the demolition of these houses is smart, it shows the city has the needed discipline to recognize and do something about blight. People get too emotionally attached to old houses. At the end of the day, they’re a liability, eyesore, and very inefficient (in an energy sense).

  4. TimmyR says:

    These homes are dumps, without a doubt. If there was money to be made, either a huge mortgage/equity gain, or future rental income, these properties would have been sold for a reasonable figure when one takes into account the amount of the rehabilitation. It is nice to jump on some sort of save an urban core anti-demo bandwagon, but it takes more than clicking “Like” on Facebook. Why don’t those hundreds of people put up their own money to buy some of these gems and make their money, if not some more, on the sale after remodeling? Lots of abandoned homes in this city don’t even have floors, and I know there are homes at least in Haughville that still have dirt floors.