• The U.S. Department of Treasury approved $221.7 million for Indiana from the Hardest Hit Fund, which helps homeowners who live in states particularly affected by the economic crises.
  • The Blight Elimination Program, which receives support from the fund, awarded the state $75 million to remove abandoned and blighted properties.
  • Muncie will ask for $4 million from the Blight Elimination Program to demolish more than 200 abandoned homes.

Muncie will seek $4 million in federal funding and community partners for the removal of vacant houses.

Federal funds will be used to demolition abandoned and blighted properties. The money comes from the United States Department of Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund created in 2010, which will give more than $7.6 billion in aid to homeowners who live in states particularly affected by the economic crises.

By the numbers


In 2010, the U.S. Department of Treasury created the Hardest Hit Fund to help homeowners in states hit worse by the economic crises. The Blight Elimination Program draws money from the fund and allows a city to partner with private business owners, community organizations or individual homeowners who neighbor a blighted property to clear the lot.


$221.7 million
is the amount Indiana received from the Hardest Hit Fund

$75 million
is the amount Indiana has for the Blight Elimination Program

$19.9 million
allocated to Division Three, which includes Delaware County

$4 million
is the amount Muncie plans to apply for to demolish properties

225
is the number of proposed properties to demolish in Muncie

Source: Christopher Allen, facade grant administrator for the Muncie Redevelopment Commission

The Blight Elimination Program, which receives support from the Hardest Hit Fund, allows cities to partner with private business owners, community organizations or individual homeowners who neighbor blighted properties to clear the lots.

The lots may then be made into new buildings, expansions of yards, or parks — an aspect of the program emphasized by Christopher Allen, facade grant administrator for the Muncie Redevelopment Commission.

“Being able to create new buildings or parks will make the community more appealing,” Allen said. “The exciting part is that [the empty lot] doesn’t have to be a lot or another home, it could be a park.”

Organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Muncie Homeowners’ Association have expressed interest in partnering with the city for the urban renewal, he said.

Allen met with some Ball State students from the Student Planning Association who have expressed interest in volunteering with the project in an unspecified way.

Two Ball State geographic information science students have been working with the city in mapping out areas for demolition, Allen said.

He added that Ball State’s John Fallon, associate vice president of economic development and community engagement, and Heather Williams, Building Better Neighborhoods program manager, also have expressed interest in the project.

“We discussed how the university could participate with the city and help make the project possible,” he said.

If the university were interested, it could partner with the city and help with the renewal of these properties and come to own them, Allen said. So far, that hasn’t happened.

Indiana received $221.7 million from the fund and $75 million has been approved by the treasury department for the state to use in the removal of abandoned and blighted properties.

Other states, such as Ohio and Michigan, have also benefited from the Hardest Hit Fund.

In order for a city to receive funding, it must have partners lined up to handle demolition and “end use” construction replacing the old structure.

The state divided its 96 counties into six divisions based on population to distribute the $75 million available for the Blight Elimination Program. The state has grouped its counties because of uneven population distribution throughout the state.

Muncie will have to compete with cities in counties including Madison, LaPorte, Vanderburgh and Hendricks.

The state has allocated nearly $19.9 million for Division Three, which includes Muncie, Allen said. Muncie plans to apply for $4 million of it.

“That number came from the idea that if we have 200 properties we want to demolish and how we would budget for that,” Allen said. “It’s the goal we’ve set for ourselves.”

The city is currently in the application process for the fund, which involves producing a list of properties and partners to help with the destruction and renewal of areas.

The list of properties numbers at about 225 and is growing every day, Allen said.

He added that some properties currently listed for destruction could come off the list as they inspect the legitimacy of their candidacy.

All buildings that will be destroyed have to go through the city’s Unsafe Building Hearing Authority and the Building Commissioners Office.

The city will submit its application with the full list of homes it wishes to demolish along with renewal plans in June.