City Of Muskogee Hits Milestone In Aggressive Redevelopment Plan
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - Muskogee is reaching a milestone in a major re-development effort; 300 condemned homes will be demolished this week.
This is an aggressive effort by the City to clean up its neighborhoods and create economic development.
The demolition program started almost a year and a half ago, and in a couple of days, the 300th home will just be a vacant lot.
The city is doing this to curb nuisance and increase property values.
Muskogee is committed to urban renewal - cleaning up blighted neighborhoods for future development.
The City and the Muskogee Foundation started in February 2015 with the project to clear up 400 condemned homes.
Dan Hurd oversees the large project and said, "We're right on time, and we're right on budget."
The City said it condemns between 80 to 100 buildings a year, and current funding allows for half of those demolitions to happen. Foundation funding provides a matching grant to help with demolition costs.
Hurd said, "This is number 300, but the backlog is gone - we're working current now. We're working on stuff we just condemned 60-90 days ago."
Getting rid of the homes isn't easy. Home number 300 is in a historic neighborhood but sat on the condemned list for more than a decade.
The aggressive demolition plan is part of a larger vision for Muskogee's leadership.
"We needed something to help prop up the neighborhoods - get rid of the blight, help repair some of the older dilapidated homes, then, we're going to have to move forward on that and help incentivize builders to come in here, which we do have a program for that now," Hurd said.
In the end, it's all tied to revitalization and economic development.
Hurd said, "You've got to have a town that looks good and is in good repair before people are going to want to bring their business here."
The City said there are more than 20 homes still on the list slated for demolition.