Wow!  Here’s something that will make a difference in our community that will be easy to see!  Local leaders have secured nearly $4 million in grants to knock down and remove blighted houses in Calhoun County.

The County and the Calhoun County Land Bank Authority locked up a $3.8 million grant from the Michigan Homeowner Assistance Non Profit Housing Corporation and Michigan State Housing Development Authority, making it the largest local grant award for blight elimination to date.The grant is expected to run for a period of 18 months.

The grant is intended for residential properties and may be used to demolish high-priority houses located at:

  • 70 Saratoga Ave. in Bedford Township
  • 153 O’Neil St. in Emmett Township
  • 220 Plain St. in Homer Village
  • 310 Fitch St. in Albion near Albion College
  • 84 Riverview Ave. in Battle Creek near the Linear Trail.
84 Riverview in 1940 (Photo Willard Library)

“Blighted houses stick out as eyesores, drag down property values and pose safety hazards in their neighborhoods, and this generous grant will allow us to aggressively tackle blight in Calhoun County,” said Christine Schauer, Calhoun County Treasurer and Chairperson of the Calhoun County Land Bank. “This grant will have an enormous impact on the efforts of the Land Bank and its partners, Battle Creek, Albion and our Townships, in continuing our collaborative efforts toward blight elimination and neighborhood revitalization.”

84 Riverview today (Google Street view)

The $3,835,499 grant will be used to demolish houses in Battle Creek, Albion, Emmett Township, Bedford Township and Homer Village. The grant also allows for acquisition of houses not currently owned by the Land Bank that pose significant safety risks and are negatively impacting property values in their neighborhoods.

“We are eager to get started on these demolitions to tear down dilapidated houses that have been deemed beyond repair or rehabilitation,” said Krista Trout-Edwards, Executive Director of the Land Bank. “By tearing down decaying houses, we stabilize a neighborhood’s property values and improve the safety of our communities.”

The state awarded a total of $11 million to several land banks across the state, and the Calhoun Land Bank received one of the largest grants.

“As Chair of the Board of Commissioners and a member of the Land Bank Board, I am proud of the Land Bank’s partnerships with the County and municipalities to address blight in creative ways,” said Derek King, Chairperson of the Calhoun County Board of Commissioners. “The size of this grant speaks volumes to the Land Bank’s outstanding success and the state’s confidence in its effectiveness in helping cities and townships create more vibrant places to live, work and play.”

“This is a big opportunity for Calhoun County to invest in blight removal efforts and help homeowners,” MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer said. “These funds will help stabilize local neighborhoods and improve property values.”