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      Novinger receives grant to demolish damaged property

      The City of Novinger is one step closer to finally picking up the pieces damaged by several storms, including the 2009 tornado that ripped through the city.

      Sixteen residential properties and one commercial building remind the citizens of Novinger what they've been through. All the buildings were damaged either by the 2009 tornado or other storms that ripped through their community.

      Now they can finally pick up the pieces and start over. Something the mayor says his city is excited to do.

      "For us this is a game changer because it takes out a vast majority of properties that we need to get cleaned up in the community and that lets us widdle down the list to a short few that we need to work on in the near future,â?? said Jeff Dodson, Mayor of Novinger.The city just received a grant for $138,640 through the Community Block Grant Development program.

      The CBGD program is a flexible program that provides communities with resources to address a wide range of unique community development needs. In Novinger's case, it will be used to demolish homes that are currently uninhabitable.

      "The residential properties had to be vacant for a year, no utilities hooked-up so these are vacant properties. We are not taking properties out of our community that could have been fixed up and lived in," said Dodson.

      The City of Novinger has been working to get this grant for three years.

      "This has been a lengthy process that we had to go through with the property owners and northeast regional planning, hours and hours of volunteer labor to get to this point where we received a grant," Dodson said.

      Even though they are working to get the final nuts and bolts finalized, they hope to get work started by the beginning of next year.

      "People are thrilled, our neighbors are excited because we are going to start to get the community cleaned up and of course the next question is what are we going to do with the rest of the properties, and the key thing I tell everyone is to keep putting one foot in front of the other until we reach the goals that we want to attain," said Dodson.

      For the City of Novinger, this is a step in the right direction.

      Mayor Dodson says any grant money left over will be used toward future projects.