Rutland invests money to rehab blighted properties - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Rutland invests money to rehab blighted properties

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The Rutland Redevelopment Authority thinks a facelift is just what the Northwest district needs and is looking to put almost $2 million into beautifying that area.

Sharon Davis has lived on pretty tree-lined Baxter Street in Rutland's Northwest district for 35 years. It's a street has inviting homes and well-manicured lawns.

"We have some targeted areas that need to be addressed," said Davis.

Around the corner there are abandoned homes left to rot, homes meant for one family packed with renters, and property owners who don't live in the neighborhood or even in the state.

The City of Rutland's Redevelopment Authority is looking to address several of the roughly 100 vacant residential properties in the Marble City. Officials applied for a $1.25 million state grant to rehab blighted properties.

"We feel the homeownership in that area is something that we really would like to promote," said Brennan Duffy from the RRA.

The city would take ownership of many of the properties and get them up to a standard where they could then be sold to people who want to make Rutland their home. The money could also go toward neighborhood improvements like parks.

The project would also provide tax incentives for new homebuyers and tax breaks on home improvements. 62 percent of the Northwest neighborhood is renter occupied, while just 38 percent are homeowners.

"We are hoping to have kind of a less transient population that is going to really put down roots there and raise their family and live there long term," said Duffy.

Neighbors agree that promoting home ownership is the key to solving the problems in the area.

"If you live in the neighborhood then you have a responsibility to that neighborhood," said Davis.

The City of Rutland has also said it would invest $225,000 of its own funds toward street-scaping. Those who live in the area think if they all work together the area has the potential to really become a true neighborhood.

"Neighbors also help neighbors," said Davis.

This grant application is in and they think they will hear an answer within the next few weeks. If this project moves forward, it would take four to five years to complete.

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