LANSING—State Sen. Jim Marleau said Thursday that he is grateful that the city of Pontiac was recently awarded nearly $1 million in funding for blight removal, and he is looking forward to the renewal and cleanup work in the city.
Pontiac will receive $996,668 as part of $15 million in funding awarded to 34 municipal, township and county entities statewide to help eliminate blight in their communities.
“This is wonderful news for Pontiac and the surrounding areas,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “The heart of the city’s residents is to restore Pontiac’s vitality. There’s much work to be done, and this money will go a long way toward rebuilding a renewed Pontiac. I can’t wait.”
Funding for the awards comes from a March 2012 settlement reached by 49 state attorneys general, including Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, following a lawsuit over mortgage foreclosure practices.
Of Michigan’s $97.2 million share of the settlement, $25 million was used to create a Blight Elimination Program to help communities demolish vacant and abandoned properties with the goal of promoting public safety, stabilizing property values and enhancing current and future development opportunities.
The Blight Elimination Program is a partnership between Department of Human Services, the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.
Applicants for the awards were asked to provide a detailed description of their proposed projects, including a post-demolition land use plan. They were also asked to explain in detail the anticipated benefits aimed at public safety, property value stabilization and economic development. Descriptions of local support along with additional public and private investment in the projects were also requested.
“The Pontiac projects will beautify the city, increase public health and safety and raise property values,” Marleau said. “This is a nice shot in the arm for the city.”