City marks halfway point for 1,000 houses in 1,000 days initiati - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

City marks halfway point for 1,000 houses in 1,000 days initiative

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A revitalized home on the 2600 block of S. Michigan St. A revitalized home on the 2600 block of S. Michigan St.
SOUTH BEND - Thursday marked the halfway point of the 1000 Houses in 1000 Days initiative started by Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Although Buttigieg is currently serving a tour of duty in Afghanistan, his office has continued on with the initiative to address vacant and abandoned homes in South Bend.

As the city reaches day 500 of the initiative this is where the city of South Bend stands:

-126 houses have been repaired

-142 houses have been demolished

-196 houses are under contract to be demolished

City officials gathered with other members of the initiative including the South Bend Heritage Foundation, the Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc., Indiana Michigan Power and NIPSCO to discuss their progress. There were also local residents in attendance such as Penny Hughes.

"I'm so excited. We have a beautiful community," Hughes said. "I'm so proud of the city and what they've done."

Hughes has lived in South Bend for 50 years. "We had a Mayor who said I'm going to do this. And he listened to the people and the people said 'I'm tired of these vacant, abandoned homes in my neighborhood' and he's actually done something about it," she said.

South Bend Deputy Mayor Mark Neal says he and Mayor Buttigieg speak on a weekly basis. Neal says Buttigieg is fully aware of the work being done in his absence. "He's pleased with the progress. He also recognizes it's taken a lot of hard work from the folks here and many other,” Neal said. “He's been very thankful and appreciative of the efforts."

Neal says there have been some challenges with the biggest being tracking down the home owners for a number of these homes. "It does require us to be initiative and thoughtful about how can we address so many of these properties in many different ways,” Neal said. “Again, bring back the vibrancy in some of these neighborhoods."

Hughes is a property owner and says the value of repairing and demolishing these homes benefits the community as a whole. "You drive down the street and you see all these boarded up, nobody wants to invest in there. He wants to invest in something that's going to go up in value,” Hughes said. “This is so important what they're doing."

The City has 472 homes left to address to reach their goal of 1,000 houses. For homes that are demolished, the City will allow adjoining homes to purchase the land as a side yard. Other options for the land include making community gardens and small parks.

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