SB Common Council approves bill involving vacant home demolition - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

SB Common Council approves bill involving vacant home demolition

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The South Bend Common Council approved a bill Monday night that they believe will give the public more transparency related to the demolishing of vacant homes.

The bill, which was spearheaded by councilman Henry Davis Jr., will keep the public updated on which homes are being demolished and why they are being torn down. The bill also allows the city to analyze whether or not a home could be renovated instead of demolished.

Davis Jr. gave a presentation at Monday's Common Council meeting in which he told the city administration to open their minds to a different way of thinking about the potential of abandoned homes in South Bend.

He used examples from different cities around the country, including Indianapolis and Chicago, where instead of tearing down abandoned homes those cities revitalized the homes to sell.

Davis Jr. believes saving some of the abandoned South Bend homes can help increase the future tax base. He says if the homes are destroyed it puts the city in jeopardy of losing schools and money in the future.

"[The abandoned home] problem doesn't just exist as a housing issue, it's a city of South Bend issue, it's a lifeline issue," said Davis Jr., in his presentation. "While we're trying to set the standard and status of what South Bend can be, should be, and will be, we want to be attentional of how we look at these matters. "

In addition to Davis several people from South Bend who live around vacant homes came to the podium in support of Davis's efforts. Many of them said the vacant lots that would be created when homes are demolished could be just as much of an eye sore as a vacant home.

"They weaken the neighborhood fabric," said South Bend resident Glenda Hernandez. "There has to be a better plan than just demolishing 1000 homes in 1000 days."

The 1000 homes in 1000 days plan was created by South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. The plan, which is fairly self-explanatory, calls for 1000 abandoned homes in the city to be demolished over a 1000 day period.

Davis Jr. did say in his presentation that he understands the city needs to demolish some homes because of health code violations. The bill that was passed involves homes that do not pose a health threat to the community.

There were portions of the bill that were taken out before it was approved. According to Davis Jr., a key portion that he would have liked to see stay in the bill involved adding jobs into the community to help revitalize the homes.

While Davis was disappointed to see that part removed, he was thankful to see the bill pass so the council can be more transparent with the public on why certain homes are being demolished.

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