State pitches in to eradicate blighted homes in Milwaukee

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The state is giving some much-needed fuel to the effort to eradicate blighted property in Milwaukee. On Tuesday, September 17th, Gov. Walker was in the city to announce the state's contribution at an abandoned home that emphasizes the need.

The problem is that we've seen as many as five boarded up homes on one block, and even when one is being rehabbed, how attractive will it be sandwiched in with the others.

Gov. Walker came to the Medcalf Park neighborhood, where he was joined by Mayor Tom Barrett, aldermen and state leaders.

He was given an inkling of the scope of the problem with blighted properties -- homes abandoned through foreclosure or other reasons.

Kewonia Seals knows the issue all too well. She lives with it every day -- and sees drug dealers and others at the abandoned properties.

“They’re able to hang out on the porches and you know wait for their people to pull up and come by or whatever so it’s really like a hanging place for them -- something needs to be done. It really does," Seals said.

The state's plan is to give Milwaukee a maximum of $2 million for the demolition of foreclosed and abandoned properties -- $10,000 per property razed.

Gov. Walker says the program is a good companion piece to Mayor Barrett's proposal in his upcoming city budget -- allocating $11.7 million to rehab or demolish tax foreclosed homes in Milwaukee.

"We wanted to augment what the mayor announced this week. We think it’s important in terms of strengthening their home values in their own homes  because strong neighborhoods mean strong home values for them but most importantly it means safe streets," Gov. Walker said.

“I want to see a city where grandmas can sit on these front porches and watch their grandkids play on the front yard so there’s a public safety aspect to this that is very very real," Mayor Barrett said.

Through the state program, the city will demolish the properties to state specifications and the state will give the city $10,000 for each property.

The city has a year to use up the $2 million, but that shouldn't be a problem.