City leaders lay out plan to fight blight in Hartford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

City leaders lay out plan to fight blight in Hartford

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Hartford city leaders are working to fight blight (WFSB) Hartford city leaders are working to fight blight (WFSB)

By the city’s own estimate, Hartford has 1,000 damaged and neglected properties.

On Wednesday night, there is a renewed effort to combat blight across the capital city.

Mayor Luke Bronin says Hartford is taking a more aggressive stance against blight, telling property owners who have allowed buildings to fall into disrepair, to fix it up, pay up or give it up.

"Taking care of this problem isn't just about making neighborhoods feel good -- it’s also about lifting up the value of homes and making them beautiful,” Bronin said.

His goal is to see public-private partnerships to rehab 100 properties per year.

Bronin dedicated his monthly town hall meeting to discuss blight. The city has undertaken a series of steps to better address blight.

In November, the city hired Laura Settlemyer to lead a task force to clean up Hartford’s neglected and damaged properties. Her position is funded by a federal grant, according to a city spokesman.

"I think it will be successful if they keep drilling at people keep drilling at homeowners,” said Natasha Dickenson of Hartford, who owns a dilapidated building that she is trying to repair. “It was on the blighted list, I took it off the blighted list.”

She has paid to get plumbing, electrical work, and renovations, but the problem has been a funding source.

Bronin spoke about grants that are available and partnerships with groups like Habitat for Humanity.

Dickinson says that may sound good, but she’s tried to use what’s out there.

Some posed questions to Bronin about what happens with elderly and disabled people who can’t afford to make repairs but care about their properties.

He said the city is willing to work with people.

Though he stressed the city wants to speed up the process for fines and foreclosures to build momentum for rebuilding Hartford’s blighted neighborhoods.

A city spokesman says Hartford has a $5 million state grant for the land bank to rehabilitate houses that could start within six months.

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