There are properties that through many years of neglect or vacancy fall into a state of disrepair and become an eyesore to the community. These properties are referred to as “blighted properties.” The Blight Elimination Program, (BEP), was a state program funded through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to eliminate blighted properties in communities around the state.
Through this program, the cities of Hartford City and Montpelier joined together to
remove 57 blighted properties in Hartford City and 5 in Montpelier. Some of these newly vacant lots were sold as side lots to neighbors. Because of their larger size other lots were more appropriate for new home construction and retained by the Blackford Development Corporation (BDC) specifically for that purpose.
Founded in 2014, the BDC is under the direction of its President Warren Brown. The BDC is working with Four Star Construction and Ervin Graber to build quality housing in Hartford City on lots acquired by the BDC through the tax sale process, purchase by
BEP funds or donations. Including some of the lots vacated by the demolition of blighted homes.
Four Star Construction is headquartered in nearby Bryant, Indiana. They specialize in single family home construction. They employ a number of Amish workers and these homes are very well made. To date, four new homes have been constructed in Hartford City.
Construction of the first home at 923 N. Walnut Street began in August 2020. An additional home was built on Mill Street, near the Blackford County 4-H Fairground, earlier this year. The new home at 717 N. Cherry Street is the third on BDC lots. Four Star Construction also built a custom home at Creekside during the summer.
The plan is to continue building new houses in Hartford City in a mix of BDC lots and custom builds as funds allow. “Our goal is to provide high quality housing for folks wanting to live in Hartford City,” said BDC member Jon Creek. Through this process, the BDC is transforming formerly blighted properties that had fallen into disrepair into attractive new homes. These new homes may attract new home owners to the city or even encourage some property owners to clean-up their homes to make them less of an eyesore, making the community a more inviting place to live.