County moves forward with blight reduction

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Making the community safer - that's just one of the goals of the Blight Reduction Grant.

The Blight Reduction Grant is a federal grant with the goal of making neighborhoods more stable and also take away health risks. Now the county is moving forward with using money from this grant to do just that.

The Health Department says they have about 50 buildings throughout the county that they want to demolish.

However, they say it would take about $500,000 to demolish them all. This grant is for $100,000 and supporters say it will let the county demolish around 10-15 homes.

Economic Development Committee Chairman, Fred Wescott believes these demolitions will help the neighborhoods surrounding the properties.

"For one thing, crime. A lot of those blighted houses are, you know, people move in and they squat there. It's just a good thing to get rid of those houses. Make them into vacant properties that can become new buildings or yards," says Economic Development Committee Chairman, Fred Wescott.

Wescott says there are other federal grants to help with blight reduction that the county is applying for. For now, he says, he is glad to have a start.

The Health Department says they have ranked these properties by the amount of risk they pose to the community. They say they check certain areas monthly to decide which ones need to be condemned.