Buttigieg begins year two by tackling vacant housing issue - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Buttigieg begins year two by tackling vacant housing issue

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It was one of the top items on his agenda if elected Mayor and now that Pete Buttigieg has been in office for a year, has any progress been made about South Bend's eyesores?

We're talking about abandoned and vacant homes cluttering South Bend's west side.

It's an issue the mayor readily admits was a tougher task to handle than he originally thought, as realtors hope for an answer soon.

"Really the abandoned housing project is a lot like having a cancer, but it's in a neighborhood," says real estate broker, Pam Proctor with Cressy & Everett.

Proctor adds, "When this house goes down, the house next door gets devalued. The neighborhoods have concern for safety."

Proctor says even though she hasn't seen progress yet, she welcomes the task force formed by the mayor to turn neighborhoods around.

"It would help the crime, it would help the quality of life in the neighborhoods. It would help the aesthetics driving into South Bend," says Proctor.

It's been a year since Mayor Pete Buttigieg formed a task force to tackle the problem and the mayor says it's truly been a challenge.

"It's been even bigger than I thought but that's why we had to do it, but we did it the hard way, we didn't take a lot of shortcuts on this," says Buttigieg.

Wednesday the group met to work on a final draft for a report full of recommendations to solve the situation.

"It's gonna include ideas about how to use resources for demolition and rehabilitation as well as exploring this concept of landbanking, creating a non-profit or semi government entity that can gather up some of the properties and put them to good use before the private markets ready to take them on," says Buttigieg.

And all of that is going to take cash and the Common Council, will be writing the checks.
Council member Tim Scott says while cautious, he believes there's support for the cause.

"The city council is concerned. I'm getting a lot of questions from Council Members, but it's a solution that everyone wants to be a part of and work on," says Scott.

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