Granite City will help upgrade homes

2022-04-07 03:46:50 By : Mr. haizhong zha

This home on Adams Street in Granite City is an example of the early success of the city’s homebuyer incentive program aimed at rehabbing and transforming older houses.

Two new programs are planned in Granite City to increase home ownership while helping current owners upgrade their properties.

Granite City officials are pairing two economic development programs — one that waives sales tax for major home improvements and a second that holds a homeowner’s property tax constant for 10 years — to increase home ownership by median-income families.

City officials are awaiting approval from the state and Granite City’s impacted taxing entities. Granite City Mayor Mike Parkinson said state approval is imminent, and the city plans to move forward with the local taxing entities that agree to the proposed 10-year property tax abatement.

“We have older housing stock that still has its character and charm,” said Granite City Mayor Mike Parkinson. “With the vision and investment, these houses can become homes for median-income residents. As we take this approach and incentivize investors to fix up these houses and flip them, we can attract working-class families to come in and buy these properties, knowing that their property taxes will remain constant for a period of 10 years.

"Our housing affordability provides families the opportunity to buy a quality home and still be able to take their family on vacation and save for retirement,” he said. "We’re seeking to give a young family just starting out a true leg up and a compelling reason to buy a home in our city.

"Home ownership, education, quality of life and employment base are all interconnected," said Parkinson. "For Granite to continue attracting employers, a steady population of students in our school system and more, we first have to bring home ownership back to the city and with it a renewed sense of pride in our community. We strongly believe these incentives will do that.”

Granite City currently has a population of about 27,500. The pilot program seeks to increase home ownership and community pride in the city's historic neighborhoods of Lincoln Place, West Granite and the downtown area.

“The two-fold approach requires at least $10,000 in home improvements to be made for the first incentive — the sales tax waiver on materials and labor — to take effect,” said Granite City Economic Development Director Cathy Hamilton.

The second and longer-term incentive, the tax abatement component, promises a new homeowner 10 years of property taxes based upon the assessed amount prior to any improvements taking place. 

Last year the city launched its One House at a Time program, buying a rundown home and reselling it to a rehabber who completely gutted the home, redid the layout, and transformed the house to meet the standards of today’s homebuyer.

“In a neighborhood that usually sells in the $70,000 to $80,000 range, this house was under contract in three days for over its asking price at $110,100," said Hamilton. "We took the worst house on the block, a home located just two blocks from the nicest park in Madison County and one that had been vacant for more than three years. It sold to a young family with a deed restriction requiring it to remain owner-occupied for five years,”

Granite City officials also said the city plans to use its federal COVID funds to make widespread infrastructural improvements. Parkinson said the city also is planning an aggressive clean-up of neighborhoods that includes demolition of targeted derelict properties.

Ron DeBrock is a 40-year journalist who has led publications in Illinois, Arkansas and Missouri. He joined The Telegraph in Alton in 2019 as its managing editor.