Rusk: Grants offered through city to tidy up residences, business property

by Staff reports

Two different grants offered through the City of Rusk will help tidy up residential areas and businesses with dilapidated property, according to city officials.

“They are programs incorporated into our budget for people to voluntarily demolish dilapidated property,” explained Rusk City Manager Amanda Hill.

Once properties are identified, the city’s code enforcement officer issues a letter requesting them to bring the property up to standard – or tear it down, if they so choose.

If that situation is not handled within a given time, a court date will be set, with a lien placed against the lot if the owner fails to follow up.

On average, “demolition runs $4,000 to $5,000 depending on the home, for debris to be hauled off,” Hill said.

However, through the Voluntary Demo Program for residential owners, “we’re offering – if you come to us, before code enforcement does and let us know your property needs to be torn down – to pay half the cost through the grant,” Hill said.

“The residents will still own that property free and clear,” she said, adding that funding became available on Oct. 1, but there have been no takers thus far. “The money is there, and when it’s gone, it’s gone – we only have $20,000s in the budget for this grant, so it’s first come, first serve.”

The funding period ends for this residential assistance grant on Sept. 30, but “if it’s successful, we’re confident we can do it again,” she said.

A second, similar grant being offered through the Rusk Economic Development Corporation for commercial properties is a Façade Grant Program, which provides funds for businesses to improve the façade of their buildings.

“It doesn’t cover roofs or anything inside,” Hill noted.

To learn more about these grants, contact Rusk City Hall at 903-683-2213.