FOR SALE: Neighborhood lot program aims to beautify Meridian's subdivisions

Whitney Downard / The Meridian Star

This lot at 3424 Davis St. in Meridian holds the remains of a someone's barbecue and is available for purchase through the City of Meridian's neighborhood lot program. 

Whether a subdivision corner lot or large grassy field, the City of Meridian has nearly two dozen available parcels through the Neighborhood Lot Program for residents to purchase and develop.

Valued between $980 and $15,630, residents can purchase the properties for a $100 administrative fee through the city's Community Development department.

"Overall, our goal is to take properties that have been abandoned that need to be rehabilitated and bring them back to life," Laura Carmichael, the director of Community Development, said. "We feel like it's a good step to bring people and pride into our neighborhoods."

Carmichael described the program as part of an effort to beautify the city's neighborhoods, with the list of available properties updating as the City Council approves them. 

"You have to be current on all property taxes and any financial obligations with the city," Carmichael said. "And you have to be willing to maintain the property once its purchased."

The properties include a two-year reverter clause if not improvements are made or residents fail to pay taxes. Purchasers must submit a plan for improvement with the city.

Of the 23 available lots, 13 are in Ward 4, seven in Ward 2, three in Ward 3 and two in Ward 5. 

Eventually, some of the lots submitted to the neighborhood lot program may come from the city's demolition program, which had enough funding for only one more demolition as of a council meeting earlier this month. The city council will determine next year's fiscal budget in the coming months.

"We do budget to demolish the homes and there is a process," Carmichael said. "First, we want them to be rehabilitated. We try to get the property owners to address any issues that be a code (enforcement) issue."

Under the city's process, the property owners keep the condemned property but the city tears the existing structures down after asbestos abatement. 

"We want to strategize and look at where it's located; where is there the most disrepair," Carmichael said. "It might be on the list for a year or more."

Carmichael called this an "aggressive plan" that coupled with the city's efforts to revitalize downtown.

"We want to look at how we can strategically address issues and come up with a two- or three-year plan," Carmichael said. "How can we have a positive impact?"

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