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Local

The fight against blight in Sterling

Four more abandoned structures set for demolition

This house at 312 Wallace St. is one of four abandoned properties set for demolition by the city through the Blight Reduction Program. Last week, the city finalized turning over the property deeds to its nonprofit partner, Rock Island Growth Corporation.
This house at 312 Wallace St. is one of four abandoned properties set for demolition by the city through the Blight Reduction Program. Last week, the city finalized turning over the property deeds to its nonprofit partner, Rock Island Growth Corporation.

STERLING – The city will demolish four more structures through the Blight Reduction Program.

The properties targeted for demolition are 312 Wallace St., 603 Fourth Ave., 1306 Second Ave., and 405 W. Seventh St. The city gained the titles to the properties through judicial abandonment proceedings.

The city will turn over the deeds to Rock Island Growth Corp., the city’s nonprofit partner that is administering the grant through the Illinois Housing Development Authority.

“The grant requires that the city must take ownership of the properties, then deed them to a nonprofit before abatement,” Building and Zoning Administrator Amanda Schmidt said. “Deeding the properties to Rock Island Growth is the first step before demolition.”

The deeds will be given back to the city when all grant requirements are met.

“There is a 3-year period where we won’t have to take care of the properties, and then it will be deeded back to the city,” Schmidt said.

Rock Island Growth holds onto the properties with the goal that they will be used again and returned to the city’s tax rolls.

According to the Center for Community Progress, for every dollar spent to clean up vacant properties, neighbors experience a $224 increase in property values, and the community receives an additional $7.43 in tax revenue.

The city had a list of 15 vacant properties it submitted for the grant application, and it has surpassed the minimum number of demolitions needed to fulfill the grant requirements.

“We had to have 10 done by the end of the grant cycle, and we are now up to 13,” Schmidt said.

The city has received $455,000 through the Blight Reduction Program. It has also partnered with Rock Island Growth to get nearly $2.8 million through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2. Through that program, the city has received $1 million from the sale of rehabilitated properties in at-risk neighborhoods.

In 2009, Rock Island Growth received $18.5 million for the NSP2 program. The money was split between the nonprofit, and the cities of Sterling, Moline, and Rock Island.

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