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ANDERSON, IND. (Aug. 31, 2015) – A major demolition project will soon be underway in Anderson.

As part of $2.8 million in federal grants the city received earlier this year, more than 100 abandoned homes will be torn down in the next year.

“It was a really bad property,” Tony Turnley said, the city’s blight elimination coordinator, showing us a newly renovated property. “The roof was falling in. I believe it had some fire damage.”

The first two properties the city has torn down, as part of the grant, are near completion.

“When we first targeted the house, you couldn’t see it because there were so many trees and bush grown up,” Turnley said of one property.

During the next year, the city will demolish 128 homes under grants that first targeted the country’s foreclosure crisis and are now turning to abandoned properties still standing in cities like Anderson.

“It’s looked like this the whole time,” Mike Stanger said, who lives by one of the properties on the list. “The mosquitoes from the grass being so high and wet all the time, the mosquitoes come over to my yard and our kids can’t play in the backyard because of it.”

As part of the program, the city must first buy the property, a task sometimes easier said than done.

Many of the lots will initially turn to green space as the city works with community partners to build new homes and playgrounds.

The problems is, Turnley said, is 128 homes is just the start in Anderson, adding anywhere between 200 and 300 could immediately qualify for demolition.

“Then you have blocks of properties that are deteriorating,” she said. “So it’s really going to make an impact because we have one area we’re in the process of getting almost the whole block of properties.”

Turnley said while the grants initially cover 128 homes, she already has 45 on a waiting list, adding the program will put a significant dent in the city’s problem, but fixing it long-term will take years.