SAGINAW COUNTY (WJRT) -
(05/06/14) - Saginaw continues to knock down homes at a rapid pace.
The city has demolished about 160 of them since September, when it received $11.2 million in federal funding to eliminate blight.
But while the number of abandoned homes goes down, the number of vacant properties is going up.
So what do you do when you have a lot of that inventory? You have a sale.
Fifty percent off sounds pretty good for any deal, and that is the case for certain properties in Saginaw.
"The county owns over 2,000 of these side lots in the city," said Tim Novak, Saginaw County treasurer.
Side lots like the one on Monroe Street on the Saginaw's west side. The vacant home that stood there for nearly 15 years is gone.
Shelly Riedlinger lives next door.
"We are so happy it is torn down because it was a catch all for critters and cats, and every time you turned around, the door was broken in, and you didn't know who was there," she said.
When an eyesore goes down, a vacant piece of property is left behind. The Saginaw County Land Bank has a program in place for people who live adjacent to those properties to buy the land at a low price.
The price is now even lower.
"The current price is $300, and I guess you can say we are having a sale, and we are going to charge $150," Novak said.
Novak wants to avoid situations like this, where homes have been knocked down, but the vacant property becomes of a bit of an eyesore - and sometimes a hazard. Neighbors who do not owe back taxes and are not in violation of any codes can now purchase the property.
"The property goes back on the tax roll, so, the owner would be responsible to pay taxes for that," Novak said. "The neighborhood wins, the lot will be maintained."
Riedlinger says she has heard about the land sale and she is in negotiations now, with her husband.
"If my husband was here, he would say we are buying it," she said. "I'm not convinced."