Anderson tearing down abandoned homes to eliminate blight

Posted: 3:41 PM, Feb 24, 2018
Updated: 2018-02-24 15:41:35-05
Anderson tearing down homes to build up city
Anderson tearing down homes to build up city
Anderson tearing down homes to build up city

ANDERSON, Ind. -- The City of Anderson is tearing itself down, in order to lift itself up.

The city is targeting abandoned homes like the one on W. 12th Street, next to where Jamie Swain and her family live. 

"It's been frightening to have that next door -- with people doing drugs over there, just people living over there," Swain said. "We were worried about the house caving in on some of our children."

For the last couple years, Anderson has been using federal funds and private donations combined to demolish run down dwellings that attract crime, lower property values, and stifle growth. The city's building code inspector identified at-risk or hazard homes, and works with the owners to either rehab the house, or buy the property and tear it down. 

"Once they get torn down, we turn them over to a third party," Anderson Mayor Tom Broderick said. "It might be someone from, for example, Habitat for Humanity, or some other entity that's interested in developing the property or maybe turning it to a garden space in the community or something like that."

Last year, the program brought down 70 houses in the Anderson area. So far, nine have been torn down.

If you wonder whether the program is working, just ask Linda Kidwell. She used to live next door to a crumbling house on Anderson's east side. 

"I kept running kids off from it," Kidwell said. "And I had a lot of problems with rodents and everything from it."

Since it's been gone? 

"There's not people going in there and doing drugs, or anything like that," she said. "It's wonderful to me."

The goal for the city is to knock down 75 blighted homes by the end of the year.

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