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Eyesore properties in Niles Township could get razed

Published 8:56pm Monday, December 3, 2012

A pair of eyesore properties in Niles Charter Township could soon be demolished free of cost to the township.

Jeff Dunlap, township building official, said a $1 million grant would pay for the demolition of several county blights, including two in Niles Charter Township, during Monday’s regular township board meeting.

One property is 1430 Old U.S. 31 North, the site of Szucs Excavating and Concrete Recycling.

“I’ve contacted them (Szucs), and they are definitely interested in participating with us in the grant voluntarily,” Dunlap said.

The other property is located at 3030 S. Third St.

“It’s in the final year of Berrien county tax foreclosure on that property,” Dunlap said. “It is right there at Third and Sorin streets, where a children’s bus stop is. We get constant complaints about it.”

Dunlap said Berrien County is applying for the grant under Michigan’s blight elimination program.

Grant writer Katie Montoya, county housing director, said the county is competing with all 82 counties in Michigan for $15 million in grant money. She said the $1 million sought by Berrien County would take care of properties in Niles Township, Niles City, Buchanan, Benton Township and Galien.

“We are wishing and hoping the best,” Montoya said. “I think what we are proposing are some good projects.”

Montoya said grant recipients would be chosen based on four factors: safety, stabilization efforts, economic development and public support.

The grant recipients will be announced Feb. 15. Recipients must complete the work by the end of 2013.

Niles Charter Township trustees all indicated their support of the county pursuing the grant.

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