City of Jackson Demolishing 100+ Homes

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Jackson City Council voted Tuesday night to award contracts to demolish more than 100 abandoned buildings in the city.

The council voted 6-1 to tear down 105 units at a cost of $971,000 with more than $800,000 coming from the city's demolition fund and another $150,000 coming from federal grant funds.

Kenny Byrd, who lives next door to one of the abandoned homes, said he'll be glad to see the 'eyesore' torn down.

"There's too much damage to the property," he said. "I think demolishing it is the best way to go."

A majority of the demolitions are planned for the 1st and 5th wards, according to Andrew Frounfelker, council member for the 5th ward.

"A big portion of them are coming from parts of the city that are the oldest, where people have abandoned the community over the years," Frounfelker.

"We have to get rid of these cancers so the neighbors that are still there can thrive and flourish after these houses are gone."

There are about 1,000 vacant structures currently in the city, according to City Manager Patrick Burtch.

Jackson Police say fighting the blight means fighting crime within the city.

"The blight is the thing that actually starts our crime," said Officer Shane LaPorte. "A lot of the source of our crime came from these vacant dilapidated houses."

LaPorte gave a presentation during Tuesday night's meeting detailing a survey he conducted with residents living near buildings that had recently been demolished.

The bulk of the demolitions will be completed during winter because contractors offer better rates during the off-season for construction, according to Frounfelker.

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