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Jackson selling city-owned properties

Posted at 5:51 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 17:51:14-05

JACKSON, Mich — If you are in the market for an inexpensive piece of property, you may be in luck. The city of Jackson is selling off city-owned foreclosed properties.

The city owns 600 such properties. Official say that means it is time to change gears.

“That’s a huge number for the city to manage," said Public Information Officer Aaron Dimick. "Not only do we own that property we kind of have to care for it as well. If there is an existing home on that property we have to make sure it is secure, nobody is getting into it. It’s a liability if someone breaks in and injures themselves or starts a fire. If it’s a vacant lot we have to pay for the grass mowing."

The city is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to have the lawns mowed.

The decision to sell the lots stems, in part, from Jonathon Greene taking over as Jackson city manager from Patrick Burtch in early 2020.

"It was more of an initiative of our previous administration that they wanted to acquire a lot of properties to do renovations," said Dimick. "We have one property on Elmwood that’s in the sale process and I don’t know how much we bought the house for, but I know the city ended up investing over $100,000 as kind of an experiment to see how that would work because the goal there was this is a vacant dilapidated house that the city owns but it’s in a stable neighborhood.”

They only made a couple hundred dollars on the sale, he said.

“We want to be strategic over what lot could be used," said Dimick. "If we have a lot on West Avenue, we want to make sure this is going to someone that can put a business there or if we have a group of lots in one area we want to be like well maybe a developer that can take this and build new housing or development or an apartment.”

Former city manager Patrick Burtch who says the the city has been acquiring vacant lots and properties for decades with the number reaching around 1,000 at one point.

“We don’t use our general fund dollars to be doing this housing program," said Dimick. "We have money in this account from the sales that we use to invest in other properties. So, we’re not taking away money from other departments directly. It’s more that we’re taking this fund that is funded through the sales of other properties.”

City officials say the initiative could be beneficial to people who live next to city-owned vacant lots, some of which can be purchased for as low as $300.

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