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Minot’s blighted lots initiative helps auction 15 homes

September 16, 2018

MINOT, N.D. (AP) — Minot officials say the city’s new initiative aimed at fixing blighted and vacant properties has successfully assisted in the sale of more than a dozen lots.

The 15 properties in Neighbor Next Door were acquired by the city through various state grants received between 2013 and 2016. The lots include homes seriously damaged from the 2011 Souris River flood and for which property owners lacked the funds for rehabilitation, the Minot Daily News reported .

Neighbor Next Door is patterned after programs used by many Department of Housing and Urban Development grantees that acquired properties to get rid of blight and then offered them to adjacent owners for maintenance, said John Zakian, who manages Minot’s Disaster Resilience Grant Program.

“There are two primary goals for the city’s Neighbor Next Door program,” Zakian said. “Those goals are to restore the properties to private ownership and to assure these properties are maintained in a manner which contributes to the stability of the neighborhood while supporting flood mitigation strategies.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency encourages cities that experienced flooding to promote programs that result in reducing damage from future flooding, Zakian said. Minot is using a proactive approach by promoting the Neighbor Next Door program, which doesn’t allow structures to be built on parcels.

“Returning these properties to private ownership both encourages private property owners to maintain these properties in productive ways while removing maintenance and related obligations by the city, thus reducing city operating costs,” Zakian said.

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Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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