By Charles Sercombe
Hamtramck is one of several cities in the state invited to apply for a state grant to tear down blighted houses and buildings.
But don’t get your hopes up too high.
The $75 million grant that the cities will be competing for comes with a lot of strings attached.
Kathy Angerer, the city’s Director of Community & Economic Development, said the city has to partner with another entity, like the Michigan Land Bank, to get funding.
Not only that, the blighted property must be owned by that entity. That means the city has to move fast to get a partner, and then go through the legal hassle of transferring deeds by the Nov. 10 deadline to apply for a grant.
Also, the city’s partner must be able to put up the money to demolish structures, and then wait to be paid back by the state.
The announcement of the grant came from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, which is a board appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder, who happens to be seeking re-election on Nov. 4.
Despite these obstacles, Angerer said there are several properties owned by the city and county that could be quickly transferred to the city’s would-be partner.
“I think we can make it happen,” Angerer said.
She said she has not yet determined how much the city will apply for, but there will be some heady competition. Detroit has already said it wants the whole $75 million.
Hamtramck has come a long way in recent years in combating blight. Many dilapidated houses were knocked down in recent years to make way for the construction of new housing.
The city was hit with a setback, though, when the housing bubble burst a few years ago, which resulted in the foreclosure of many houses. That, in turn, resulted in a new round of houses falling into neglect and blight.
However, the Hamtramck housing market has since enjoyed a rebound, and houses that had been selling for as low as $14,000 are now selling for $40,000 to $60,000.