Statesboro City Council outlines plan to tackle blighted neighborhoods

Statesboro City Council outlines plan to tackle blighted neighborhoods

STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - Some Statesboro neighborhoods could see improvements in the next few years. The city hopes they can help homeowners make their homes better or replace houses beyond repair.

Drive through a certain neighborhood and you’ll find blight even in a town the size of Statesboro. City leaders want to do something about that.

Johnson Street will be the first of five neighborhoods the city will tackle as they try to revitalize certain areas. In a public hearing Monday, they outlined 250 houses in poor to fair condition within five targeted neighborhoods. City leaders say neighborhood improvements have a ripple effect.

“As neighborhoods go, so your downtown goes. So, you must have healthy vibrant non-blighted neighborhoods to revitalize your downtown,” Planning and Development Director Kathy Field said.

Tuesday morning, city leaders outlined their plan to apply for grants administered through the state Department of Community Affairs. The grants require them to have a long-term plan in place, including feedback from public hearings like the one Monday and another one on Thursday. Their first focus will be substandard houses owned by the person who lives there.

“After that, we’ll look at new construction, develop affordable housing, infrastructure projects like drainage, sidewalks, roads,” Field said.

Grant fund could initially help with demolition of some sites. Field says each improved home or lot marks a step toward a better neighborhood.

They hope to not only get homeowners involved, but also investors willing to build new.

Field says more than a third of the people in those five neighborhoods live below the poverty level.

Copyright 2021 WTOC. All rights reserved.