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City of Jackson sells 100th vacant side lot

After living on Greenwood Avenue for 58 years, Janet Boyd is seeing her property double in size.
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 9:46 AM EDT
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JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) - Jackson’s City-Owned Property Sales Program has hit a milestone, selling its 100th vacant side lot.

After living on Greenwood Avenue for 58 years, Janet Boyd is seeing her property double in size.

“I am very happy with it,” Boyd said.

The lifelong Jackson resident purchased the vacant lot next door from the City of Jackson on Oct. 19, making it the 100th side lot to be sold since February.

Jackson started the year owning 532 vacant side lots, which were acquired over the past decade through tax foreclosures and demolitions. In February, the City launched enhanced efforts to sell these properties through its website, social media posts, and hired a new Assistant to the City Manager to handle lot sales.

Eight months later, 100 side lot sales have raked $45,170 in revenue.

Like Boyd, when Thomas Weese of Jackson heard the city was selling the vacant lot behind his house he saw a great opportunity. He immediately contacted the city and is now making plans for his new lot.

“I plan on putting a fence around it and to give more room for my dog and for my grand kids to play. Plus I might put a garden in,” said Weese. " I think it’s great that the city is selling the lots for people you know? Especially this here because it’s convenient. It’s right up against straight to the land.”

Rudy Lizcano’s father recently purchased a vacant lot adjacent to his home. Rudy told News Ten that he’s hopeful that more people will take advantage of the opportunity.

“I believe it’s a good thing. People can open up new businesses, build new houses for people create work and stuff like that in the community.”

City Manager Jonathan Greene says the sales benefit the entire community.

“The program is putting money into our general tax revenue fund, which we use to fund City services, along with helping residents improve their neighborhoods,” Greene said. “This is definitely something to celebrate.”

Sold through the City Manager’s Office, side lots are only available to residents who have adjacent properties. A minimum offer of $300 is required, however, some lots are sold for more if there is demand for the property.

The buyer cannot owe the City any unpaid fines, fees, utility bills, or taxes. After the sale is completed, residents adopt the lot into their existing property. Some residents use the added land for new driveways, garages, home additions, and extra yard space.

Boyd is looking forward to having the yard she has always wanted.

“I plan on planting some flowers and maybe a fruit tree, just keeping a nicely landscaped lawn,” Boyd said. “More residents should take advantage of this program.”

The City works with a realtor to sell intact houses and commercial buildings on the open market for prices ranging from $500 to $130,000. The vacant properties, which were also acquired through tax foreclosure, are sold to investors and families to bring back to life as homes. These sales require approval from the City Council.

42 vacant properties remain and will be posted on the City website when they are ready to be sold. More information about the City-Owned Property Sales Program can be found HERE.

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