Neighborhood group planning to fix houses

By Yvonne Wingett
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 13, 2002

PHOENIX - City officials are spending the first batch of money raised from an $8 million bond issue aimed at eliminating blight.

Members of the Phoenix City Council's Neighborhood Revitalization, Housing and Historic Subcommittee recently earmarked $500,000 to buy about 10 south Phoenix parcels in the Matthew Henson apartments area to help turn the rundown row houses into modern complexes.

And though a specific project has not yet been worked out, an additional $2.5 million will likely be used to purchase downtown land for owner-occupied housing and commercial development.

City Council members are expected to give final approval to the two expenditures at their regular meeting on Wednesday.

"Blight sincerely is a cancer," Councilman Phil Gordon said Wednesday.

"If you don't eliminate it, it not only destroys the area that it's in, but spreads and will continue to destroy neighborhoods."

Phoenix's 2001 bond program directed $8 million be spent over five years to prevent and eliminate blight in areas not designated as Neighborhood Initiative Areas or Redevelopment areas, which already receive cleanup money.

City officials so far have not committed funding to other projects, but are looking at these general areas:

Sunnyslope, to expand the PAL Center.

27th Avenue and Interstate 17, Indian School Road and Indian School Road to Northern Avenue for commercial and neighborhood revitalization.

Central Avenue and Broadway Road for commercial and neighborhood revitalization.

Reach the reporter at (602) 444-4712.

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