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Bringing down blight: NSP funds proposed for demoltion
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Rockdale County Board of Commissioners Oz Nesbitt and JaNice Van Ness agree that certain parts of the community need some revitalization help.

And they also agree that funds from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program should be used in the process of giving life back to a community.

However, the two commissioners differ on exactly how those funds should be used in the revitalization development.
Chairman Richard Oden, who was present at the beginning of the work session, was absent during this portion of the meeting.

Van Ness, Post II commissioner, wants to use some of the county's NSP funds for demolishing and reconstructing certain dilapidated structures.

During a work session meeting Tuesday morning, Rockdale NSP Coordinator Tanesha Lanier presented a plan to the commissioners that would allow the county to use $500,000 for demolishing and another $425,000 for reconstructing.

"The whole point of the NSP program is to stabilize the neighborhood. There are many facets to this," said Van Ness. "All I'm doing is asking for money to be used for the things that are legal under this program."

Nesbitt, Post I commissioner, said he doesn't want the county involved in real estate matters however. He believes that that money from the fund should be used to strictly to help families move into the homes after it's been renovated buy an asset management company.

"I totally disagree with the proposed agenda that's at hand simply because I feel like the county should not be in the business of real estate, redevelopment," he said. "That is not what we are here to do."

If any demolition needs to be done, the funds should come from the Planning and Development department, says Nesbitt, but, he wants to first make sure that the property owners are being held accountable for any code violations.

"I just don't think this is the proper way to do it," he said of the proposed plan. "I want to put as much pressure as possible on the individual homeowner."

The issue will be further discussed at the board of commissioners meeting Aug. 12.

Should the three commissioners elect to reallocate some of the NSP funds next week, the proposed NSP activities could take place at the beginning of 2015, says Lanier.

NSP is a federally funded program where funds, with funds distributed through Georgia's Department of Community Affairs by the U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development's Neighborhood Stabilization Program, that can be used to purchase, renovate and repopulate foreclosed homes.
Rockdale County has roughly $2 million in NSP funds.