GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The home that once stood at 738 Franklin, SE was reduced to rubble Thursday, the first of 100 abandoned homes to be demolished in the city using $2.5 million dollars in federal funds.
City Commissioner Rosalynn Bliss was among several speakers at the ceremony she called the "kickoff of a historic campaign in Grand Rapids."
Grand Rapids is participating in what is being called the largest residential cleanup in city history. $100 million is being spent statewide on residential demolition as part of the Fresh Start program. It's part of the $500 million dollars awarded to Michigan from the federal government in 2010 as part of the Hardest Hit Fund, a part of TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program created after the financial crisis.
Most of the money is being used to help homeowners having trouble paying their mortgage and/or their property taxes. $250 million dollars in that program has still not been spent. People can apply to have those funds paid for under the Step Forward Michigan. http://www.stepforwardmichigan.org
A neighbor, David Holland, watching 738 Franklin being knocked down, smiled and wondered what took so long. The building had been vacant for years; fire damaged it last year.
The 100 homes to be demolished in Grand Rapids will all have plans for their reuse. Some sites will be given to a non profit to build homes for low income people. Others will be sold to developers. The parcels will be free for anyone with an approved plan to build a new home on the property.