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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The city of Louisville is getting $1.5 million that will go toward trying to clean up vacant property in the city.
The money is part of $19 million the state received as a result of the national foreclosure settlement with five major banks.
There are currently about 7,000 vacant properties in the city and Mayor Fischer has made it a priority to try to clean up some of those properties.
Charlie Akins, who lives on Cedar Street in west Louisville, says he tries to keep his home and property looking nice. "It is kind of like a nightmare," he says.
He is talking about what it is like to live next door to an abandoned house with tall weeds left uncut and other problems. "It is just an eyesore," he adds, "rats from next door come to my house."
Louisville's mayor says he understands. "Living next door to a property like that with weeds growing up is no way to run a city," says Mayor Greg Fischer at a news conference in front of an abandoned home on West Jefferson Street.
Part of the money the city will use from the state will be used to restore vacant homes that can still be saved and return them to the property tax rolls. Other homes in such bad shape will have to be demolished.
"It is frustrating that we cannot wipe all of this out immediately, but this is a darn good start," says the mayor.
It is a huge problem that will take years to remedy. The city estimates there are between six and seven thousand vacant properties in the city.
Mayor Fischer says changes in state laws have allowed the city to move more quickly at dealing with the problem.
Meantime, Charlie Akins says he welcomes a more aggressive plan by local government to deal with the problem.
"I think it is a pretty good idea," he says, "because the houses that are abandoned it just doesn't seem like nobody is going to do anything with them."
State money will also be made available to homeowners trying to avoid foreclosure.