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Smith County gets national attention for neighborhood revitalization

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TYLER (KYTX) - Smith County brings home a national award for revitalizing areas in Tyler.

It received The National Association of Counties Achievement Award for its role in the Tax Trust Neighborhood Revitalization Project, for the creation of new, beautiful homes for lower income families.

The majority of the 13 homes that have been built as a part of the project, began as vacant or abandoned homes. Most of the new homes cost around $80,000.

"It took a lot of work with the construction, contractors coming in, plus that creating jobs in the community," says Precinct 4 Smith County Commissioner JoAnn Hampton.

Several local government entities took on this huge economic development project in 2007. In a now award-winning collaboration, Smith County, the City of Tyler, Tyler Junior College, and Tyler ISD transform neighborhoods with new housing. The donated tax foreclosed properties helped revitalize lower income neighborhoods.

Hampton accepted the award last week, and says the owners of the newly revitalized homes are extremely happy with the result.  She says the award is a positive reflection on the county's community oriented goals.

"Not only are you invested in your community but you're invested in the people in your community, and it shows that you have a love for those people and you want to do stuff to help them. With this being a low to moderate income neighborhood, sometimes it's hard for some home buyers to even get a home," Hampton says.

It's helping the people in smith county, but also beautifying the communities they live in.

The occupied homes have already added over $93,000 of property value to the tax rolls. About $5,000 has been collected in property taxes from new home owners.

This is an ongoing project.  As the county finds more properties that are abandoned and foreclosed on, they will continue to build and revitalize.

 

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