- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Jackson homeowners will be allowed to purchase blighted properties in their neighborhoods for $10 to $250, under an order passed by a City Council committee.

The panel on Tuesday approved the Neighbors First Lot Program, which would let Jackson homeowners purchase city-owned properties that are vacant or have existing structures, The Clarion-Ledger (https://on.thec-l.com/1Q0zz8k) reported.

“The administration is excited about the proposal moving forward,” said Shelia Byrd, a spokeswoman for Mayor Tony T. Yarber. “Once approved by the City Council we’d like to launch a strong promotional campaign to make sure the community is aware of this program.”

The city has not yet created a comprehensive list of available lots under the city’s ownership for prospective buyers.

“It seems the city is working on packaging up the list of parcels to be more user friendly,” Deputy City Clerk Lee Morris said.

Councilman Ashby Foote said Jackson has about 4,000 abandoned properties that are too unattractive for auction. Foote said the program will address the issue and give people a chance to own more property.

“Out there, there are people who are already taking care of the property because they don’t want a bunch of weeds next door,” Foote said. “This gives them a chance to own it.”

Existing homeowners within the city of Jackson are eligible for the program. People who own homes on the same city block as a piece of abandoned property can purchase a vacant lot for $10 and a lot with an existing structure for $50. All other homeowners in the city can purchase property at prices ranging from $100 to $250.

Foote said the program targets local homeowners because the city believes they are going to have a more “vested interest” to make sure the properties are well-kept.

The program gives homeowners on the same streets as blighted properties a 180-day window to apply to join the program. After that, anyone else who is eligible may apply.

The program requires that the new owners clean up the properties within 60 days and complete any agreed upon development or rehab within two years.

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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Information from: The Clarion-Ledger, https://www.clarionledger.com

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