Ann Arbor officials propose new fund to tear down blighted properties
Mayor John Hieftje says he and other Ann Arbor officials have been frustrated "for a very long time" with abandoned and boarded-up properties in the city.
Now there might be a solution.
Hieftje announced Monday night he and Council Member Stephen Kunselman, D-3rd Ward, are planning to bring forward a resolution in January to tackle the issue.
"We met today with building staff, our city administrator, our city attorney, and looked at some solutions," Hieftje said. "And one problem is that we need a fund if we are going to take action on some of these properties to tear them down."
Ryan J. Stanton | AnnArbor.com
He said the resolution coming to council will ask to use general fund money to front-load a new fund to address some of the dilapidated properties in the city. He said those blighted structures, in some cases, are diminishing property values in certain neighborhoods.
The goal would be to repay the general fund with money that is coming in October, Hieftje told council members.
Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, asked if there would be a mechanism to continue to put money into the fund in the future.
"We hope to establish that," Hieftje said.
"This would get us started," he added. "And we've established that we could pretty easily have the funding for the first eight or 10 problem properties, which would go a very long ways."
Concerns about community blight and boarded-up houses also came up at an Ann Arbor Planning Commission meeting earlier this year.
Hieftje said Ann Arbor is fortunate as a community that it's not overwhelmed by dilapidated housing, as some places are. Kunselman represents the 3rd Ward, where officials and a building owner recently sorted out red tape over a house on Pinecrest that was destroyed by fire in 2008 but remains standing.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's email newsletters.