BICKNELL, In. (WTWO/WAWV)– In Bicknell, a project to tear down old houses has turned into an effort to create new ones.
From 2014 until 2019, the city of Bicknell in Knox County was involved with the Blight Elimination Program, a state program that helps clear lots of old houses no longer in use.
This endeavor left the city with more than 40 lots to repurpose. This is when Mayor Thomas Estabrook made a partnership with Century Home Builders to help increase new housing construction in the city. He said the city has not seen private home construction for years.
This partnership means that Century Home Builders chose six lots they wanted to build on. If someone builds a home on that lot through Century Home Builders, they get the lot for free.
Sky Epperson with Century Home Builders said these lots are worth around $15,000 a piece.
Estabrook hopes this will solve an issue that surpasses Bicknell.
“The home construction isn’t just a Bicknell issue,” he said. “It’s a regional, statewide, nationwide issue with an overall housing shortage.”
According to Estabrook, the hope is this incentive will bring new people and businesses into the city.
“We couldn’t expect anyone to invest in us until we invested in ourselves and we have done that,” Estabrook said.
Epperson said that while no houses are being built on these lots currently, there has been a lot of interest. He expects ground breakings to start in either the winter or spring.