Hundreds of vacant and abandoned properties in Louisville could soon get makeover

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Several-thousand abandoned properties in Louisville have boarded up windows and waist-high grass, but Metro Council recently voted in favor of a program that will transform those eyesores into new homes.

"They built these houses for low-income families," said Antoinette House, who lives in the Russell neighborhood.

House is in a program that turns abandoned properties into new homes for low income families.

"I was the first person to move into this unit," she said.

She loves her home, but she doesn't like what is happening at the house next door.

"The house next to that is empty, and then the house next to that is empty," House said. "So I have a problem with mice in the winter."

In fact, several homes on her street are boarded up with waist-high grass, but change is coming.

On Thursday, Metro Council voted to pass a tax delinquency diversion program. The program allows the city to purchase tax liens on vacant properties.

"It gives us another tool in the tool box to attack vacant and abandoned properties," Metro Councilman David James said. "What happened prior to that was private investors would buy those tax liens, and then Metro Government would have no way to get ahold of that."

"In the last five years, we have acquired roughly 35 abandoned and vacant properties, have totally rehabbed them, and all of them are currently occupied with homeowners," said Kevin Dunlap, Executive Director of Rebound, Inc..

Rebound is a non-profit that transforms vacant and abandoned properties into livable homes. He said the tax diversion program could eliminate hundreds of vacant houses in Louisville.

"Rebound is looking to acquire two full blocks of vacant and abandoned properties, totally changing the face of this particular area of west Louisville," he said.

That's House's block and a plan she can live with.

"Then maybe they'll keep the neighborhood or help keep the neighborhood clean," she said.

The plan is to start renovating some of those abandoned homes next few months.

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