• Independence OKs developing abandoned houses

  • One house at a time, the city of Independence is aiming to rebuild foreclosed properties in hopes of spurring new homeownership.

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  • One house at a time, the city of Independence is aiming to rebuild foreclosed properties in hopes of spurring new homeownership.
    The City Council Monday night approved an agreement with Builders Development Corporation to develop three foreclosed properties – 527 E. College St., 1118 W. Walnut St. and 419 N. Pleasant St. – using federal grant funds through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.
    “These are properties that were distressed, abandoned, foreclosed,” District 1 Council Member Marcie Gragg said. “They’ve become eyesores – for lack of a better word – in our community, and this is a way that our Community Development staff is making use of those federal dollars to stabilize and improve our community and neighborhoods.
    “I just want to highlight that to folks who wonder what happens when properties go abandoned for a length of time and wonder if there is any hope. This is a prime example of that hope and how we carry it out here in the city.”
    That program allows communities like Independence to redevelop foreclosed, abandoned or vacant properties for the benefit of individuals at or below 120 percent of the median income.
    After the redevelopment, the properties will be available for homeownership, lease-purchase or rental. According to the city, the relationship with the nonprofit Builders Development Corporation allows the developer to own the properties during rehabilitation and marketing, saving the NSP between $10,000 and $15,000 in insurance, taxes, security and ongoing maintenance expenses.
    The city of Independence, along with the NorthWest Communities Development Corporation, has already received national attention for its efforts in the Norledge Place improvements project in the 200 block of North Hardy Avenue.
    Last October, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan visited Independence to see the residential area that, at one time, had just a handful of occupied homes. The federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program – created in 2008 to help stabilize communities that suffered from foreclosures and abandonment – played a significant role as a funding source.
    “We have, as a community, already made some excellent progress and successes of revitalizing areas of our community using those federal funds,” Gragg said. “This is another example of the use of those funds.”

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