RESCUE program replaces rundown homes - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE;

RESCUE program replaces rundown homes

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By: Ashley Harding

The RESCUE program is operated through the Urban Development Department. The city acquires homes that are no longer livable, tears them down, and builds new ones in their place.

 Construction may have only just begun, but Pablo Suarez, who lives near 15th and Van Dorn, is looking forward to the new house being built next door. He says up until last fall, an eyesore stood in its place. It was a home so dilapidated, it had been abandoned for years and was falling apart.

 "We were all pretty upset in the neighborhood because it was an eyesore. They had started to do the roof and then they moved and the roof was never done. So, pieces of it kept falling off," said Suarez.

That's all changing thanks to a program with Urban Development called RESCUE. Using federal HOME funds, the city acquires houses that are no longer livable, demolishes them, and then builds a new one. David Landis with Urban Development says getting rid of bad properties adds to the value of neighborhoods. 

"It affects the marketability of other properties that are well–maintained when you're proximate to a bad property. So, we want to be careful about that. We want to minimize that negative impact," said Landis.

A home on South 16th street near Stockwell is also being rebuilt under the RESCUE program, and is currently under construction. Just like the home on Van Dorn, it had been a problem for years. The city acquired it, and now the new and improved version will be ready in the spring. 

As for the home next door to Pablo Suarez, it is expected to be complete this summer. He says he looks forward to meeting a new neighbor, and that old home isn't missed. 

"Yeah, we're happy to see it go. It's too bad it took so long, but now that we see some progress, we're happy," said Suarez.

City officials say the new homes are built to meet the neighborhoods' standards. A third project is also currently in the works.

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