Rutland [VT] Awarded $1.25 Million To Clean Up Blight And Boost Homeownership (Vermont Public Radio)
Vermont Public Radio
(7/8/2014 9:05 AM, Nina Keck)
[AUDIO at source]. It’s not often that a press conference includes tearing down a building. But city and state officials gathered in Rutland Monday to demolish the first of a number of blighted properties in the city’s northwest neighborhood. The event kicks off a $1.25 million renewal project aimed at boosting property values, lowering crime and encouraging homeownership.
Dozens of people gathered to watch as demolition equipment tore into an abandoned apartment house that Rutland Police Chief Jim Baker says his department knew well. “We were there on countless occasions,” said Baker. “They were distributing heroin out of the back of the apartment. I’ve been joking with the mayor for the past year and a half that I want to drive that bulldozer into the front of that house.”
City officials in Rutland say a $1.25 million community development grant, funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will allow the city to get rid of an estimated 11 other blighted multi-family properties in a neighborhood hit hard by the drug trade.
Mayor Christopher Louras says the city will partner with NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, a local nonprofit housing agency, to implement the grant.