Revitalizing Hundreds of Lots - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

8/13/2007-Tyler

Revitalizing Hundreds of Lots

A green-light from Smith County Commissioners for a project to re-vitalize acres of un-used land in Tyler.

The vacant lots have not generated any tax revenue for years. So now the city of Tyler, along with Smith County, Tyler Junior College and Tyler Independent School District are doing something about it.

This has been done in two or three other cities in the state of Texas, and now you can add Tyler to the list.

"Long term it is going to clean up neighborhoods, get people housing where people have pride of owning a home and it's going to make our neighborhoods a better place," said Gary Barber, Smith County Tax Assessor/Collector.

Their plan is to take vacant lots that have not had taxes paid in over six years and build affordable housing.

The City has already identified six hundred potential lots spread out across the city.

 "We have hundreds of properties that will eventually go from delinquent status to productive status. They will be homes for people in need and come back on the tax roles. I can't think of a better way to make a difference," said Tyler Mayor Joey Seeber.

"The sale of that house will go to fund the building of the next house. We will be flipping those houses," said Brenda Johnson, Director Neighborhood Services, City of Tyler.

Grant money will pay for part of the project.  Just this year the city has allocated $200,000 for new homes: Homes to be sold to moderate to low income owners.

 "We want to bring in developers, non-profits, and for-profits that would also build affordable housing to sell once we get the program up and running," said Johnson.

"The city and Habitat coming together seems like a perfect fit," said Habitat for Humanity Board President Brad Curtis.

This partnership Curtis said could eliminate one of their biggest challenges: Land.

"The opportunity of getting these lots ... so many lots available at no cost. We are really excited about it," said Curtis, "600 lots ... I mean all of us combined are going to be building on these lots for years."

"We are hoping to have at least a home build by the end of the year just to show the people that we are going to carry this out," said Barber.

The first step will be selecting from the 600 lots those that are eligible for the program. Then they will begin the court process, which could take a year or two.

Danielle Capper, Reporting. dcapper@kltv.com

 

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