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Blackford County Celebrates 100th Site Improvement Since 2007


BLACKFORD COUNTY, Ind. (June 28, 2011) - Blackford County, the City of Hartford City and the City of Montpelier are celebrating the 100th site improvement within Blackford County since 2007. The 100th improvement will take place with the demolition of one of the area''s largest dilapidated properties, the former Sunset Motel, which is located south of Hartford City on State Road 3.

Since 2007, a number of groups, programs, and private individuals have been utilized to drastically improve Blackford County. In 2010, the City of Hartford City received $1.5 Million from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program to improve housing in Hartford City. The NSP grant allowed Hartford City to remove 23 homes near the downtown area. In addition, the NSP grant renovated two homes and built five new residences in Hartford City.

"The NSP grant has made a major impact on Hartford City - and will continue to do so for many years down the road," said Hartford City Mayor Dennis Whitesell, who led the City''s effort to obtain the funding. "We were able to demolish and rebuild many homes that are now available to people who may not otherwise be able to afford one. Since the NSP funding has come to Hartford City, we have seen a number of private citizens improve their homes in the NSP area, as well. The appearance of some neighborhoods in Hartford City has changed a great deal."

In addition to the NSP funding, Blackford County is fortunate to have one of the only committees of its kind in Build a Better Blackford (BBB). Largely responsible for most of the site improvements and demolition, BBB is truly one of the most unique public-private partnerships in the community development field. Started in 2007, BBB is staffed with 100% volunteer labor by citizens driven to improve the appearance of Blackford County. BBB has been involved, on various levels, in the removal of 50 structures in the last four years.

"I''m not aware of another County in the State of Indiana that has this kind of Public-Private partnership," said Joe Edwards, Vice President of SRI, Inc., a national leader in Government property tax sales. "Blackford County has a lot to be proud of in Build a Better Blackford."

BBB received the Key Award for Supportive Services Program of the Year award in 2009 from the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development. In December of 2010 and January of 2011, with the help of Shields Excavating, BBB drastically improved the Conners Mobile Home Park, an area that had experienced major decline in the last decade. BBB worked with the Blackford County Commissioners to remove three trailers on five lots, while also removing and recycling 45 junk tires from the property. The five improved lots were sold to existing property owners and returned to the Blackford County tax rolls.

Those interested in volunteering with BBB can contact Jon Creek at (765) 499-3670. 


About Build a Better Blackford
Build a Better Blackford is a non-profit, volunteer committee in Blackford County. BBB utilizes the services of the Blackford County Community Foundation as a fiscal agent and 501(c)3 partner in projects. Started in 2007, BBB has become a global model of efficient, volunteer-driven, community activism. The group has been highly successful in removing blight in Blackford County and has set a standard of financial proficiency in its ability to remove blight at the absolute lowest cost. For more information, please visit


About Blackford County listed Blackford County as one of the Top 10 most affordable counties in the United States in 2008.  Blackford County is the home of Colonel Kevin Ford who piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery for 13 days on Mission ''STS 128'' and home to Jim Kline, who was recognized in 2011 as North America''s Top Producer by Top Producer Magazine.  Blackford County''s employers include, but are not limited to: Smith Consulting, Indiana Box and Sinclair Glass. For more information, please visit or contact Rob Cleveland at (765) 348-4944.

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