Updated: Friday, 10 Apr 2009, 1:29 AM EDT
Published : Thursday, 09 Apr 2009, 11:16 PM EDT
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) - The city of Battle Creek will use more than $1 million in federal grant money to demolish blighted homes in the downtown area.
The demolition of 125 vacant houses is slated to begin this month.
Robert Roniss lives on a block where several of the homes are condemned. He has watched his neighbors disappear and not return.
"It's kinda sad, you know," Roniss said. "I wish every house on this block was livable."
Roniss has seen violence and drug use in the neighborhood slow down since the homes have become vacant. He looks forward to some of the boarded-up homes being torn down, but hopes someone will rebuild.
"I know people fall on hard times and can't keep up with their property properly," Roniss said.
Of the $1.95 million in grant money, $1.3 million will be devoted to demolition, according to the city.
The city might acquire some homes that do not require demolition to be renovated. It also might develop some of the
land where the houses once stood into public areas, such as parks.
The owners of the property will remain in possession of the land, and it will be up to them to rebuild or sell the land, city officials said.