New look, opportunities on horizon for New London with Community Development Block Grant project

Spring will usher in a new chapter for the City of New London, thanks to a Community Development Block Grant-funded (CDBG) demolition project that will remove seven out-of-compliance residences from town.

The demolition project will be the third such operation for New London, and the process for the latest phase began about two years ago, said Mayor Pro Tem Mary Jane White. CDBG funds were secured for the city by the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments, and plans call for work to begin in the spring. When crews with Donald Martin Construction begin tearing down the dilapidated structures, the city is poised for benefits that will allow the landowner to clean up and retain their property, offer potential new construction opportunities and enhance beautification for the city.

Samantha Diffenderfer, Community Development Specialist with the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments, said the forthcoming New London project will provide similar benefits to other Community Development projects the council works on through an eight-county region. The council solicited bids from area contractors, accepting the lowest bid of $23,190 from Donald Martin Construction for the New London project.

White said that the second demolition project completed four or five years ago resulted in the construction of three new homes. She pointed out that the work doesn’t cost the landowner any money, and the results can also open the door for new businesses to come to the land once it’s cleared.

“It’s good for everybody,” she said. City Clerk Millie Powell said she felt the same way.

Powell said that she hopes that the construction of new homes will continue once the demolition efforts are complete, noting local insurance agent Steve Lewton has been busy renovating properties throughout town, and fellow residents have plans for New London, too.

For example, one mobile home remains in a former trailer park on Park St. Once removed, the structure will open up an expansive lot for business or home construction. White said it feels rewarding to witness the positive impact that will result from removing out-of-compliance buildings.

“It costs some money for the city to do it, but you feel like you get a return when somebody builds something on the property — you’re not losing money, for sure,” she said. “It’s a benefit to the city, too, just by the looks of the community.”

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