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Montgomery County receives grant to tear down and restore vacant homes

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY (WRGT) - Montgomery County has received an $8.2 million grant to help destroy and restore vacant housing.

This is the second grant from the federal government to help eliminate the widespread eye sore, raising the total to more than $14 million. Census numbers show there are more than 14,000 vacant structures in the county.

The original areas reaping the benefits include Dayton, Trotwood, Harrison Township and Jefferson Township. With the added grant, the county will spread its efforts to Kettering, Miami Township, Clayton, Riverside and West Carrollton.

“Under our demolition program if we come in there and we tear down, tear down, tear down. And, now you have vacant lot, vacant lot, vacant lot," said Mike Grauwelman, Executive Director of the Montgomery County Land Bank. "What’s your perception of that community or that neighborhood? How has that changed? Substantially."

The Land Bank works with Montgomery county to determine what homes need to go down now. The process from start to demolition takes nine months on average. During that time the Land Bank acquires the rights to the home, inspects it, removes hazardous materials and then tears it down.

Around 300 houses have been destroyed so far, but that leaves well over 13,000 to go. The group is also fixing homes for resale, selling the houses to owners at a price that matches the cost to fix the house. Grauwelman says they can sell homes for as low as $5,000. "So, when you drive down that street, perhaps six months after we’ve been there to demolish houses, and you’re looking to buy, suddenly you have a heck of a lot more confidence in what’s going on in that neighborhood," said Grauwelman. "The next door neighbor might have acquired that lot from us to put a swing-set up, to put a garage up, to do whatever with it. It’s now being taken care of."

Grauwelman told FOX 45 it will take a long time to fix or tear down all the homes that need it, but he's happy with progress so far.

If you feel like a home near you needs to be torn down, contact your neighborhood association. The association can the lobby to get it on the immediate tear-down list. If you are interested in any of the revitalized housing, you can click here for more information.

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