Henderson City Manager Terrell Blackmon spoke to members of the West End Community Watch group at its November meeting and provided some updates to plans for the current West End and Flint Hill urban redevelopment areas.
During the meeting, Blackmon explained a bit about progress being made in several areas, including awarding grants to homeowners to repair and renovate their properties, adding to the code enforcement staff and having an animal control officer whose job would be to work within the city limits.
The city got a $750,000 community development block grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce, and the Kerr-Tar COG has taken more than 70 applications from local homeowners who would like to get some of that money to rehabilitate their homes.
“We are in the process of performing title searches on the six selected properties to confirm ownership and we hope to bid out the construction in the 1st quarter of 2023,” Blackmon said in a follow-up conversation with WIZS News.
Blackmon said the city council approved in September funding for an additional animal control officer, and the city is working on a memorandum of understanding with county officials to fund and advertise the position in the first quarter of 2023.
The city also is working with county leaders to fund an additional code enforcement officer to assist with minimum housing and other enforcement issues in the city and extra-territorial jurisdiction, Blackmon said.
As plans continue for the West End URA, Blackmon said the city is acquiring numerous blighted properties that would become controlled burn sites for the fire department. “Our intent is to bundle these properties and put them in an RFP for the development of new multi-family or single-family housing,” Blackmon stated to WIZS.
“The city does not technically ‘build housing,’ he noted, “but we want to serve as a conduit to encourage private development of new housing.”