ST. LOUIS ( -- Twitter and Square Co-Founder Jack Dorsey announced a pledge of $500,000 to help address St. Louis’ problem with blighted properties.

The St. Louis Blight Authority, which was created by Dorsey (a St. Louis native) and businessman Bill Pulte, is a private sector-funded organization that aims to remove swaths of blighted property from cities in order to make neighborhoods safer.

At an event Friday, Dorsey and Pulte, along with Mayor Lyda Krewson, announced the city’s first Blight Elimination zone.

The zone will cover four blocks in the Wells Goodfellow neighborhood, comprised of more than 130 lots between Cote Brilliante Avenue, Maffitt Avenue, Clara Avenue, and Belt Avenue.

30 vacant buildings will be demolished, 12 by the City of St. Louis and 18 by the St. Louis Blight Authority. Additionally, the Blight Authority will clear eight acres of vacant lots and alleys with the goal of prepping them for future use and purchase.

The plan is to perform all of the removal in three days.

“Our first Blight Elimination Zone is home to 59 amazing families, many of whom have children, that waited decades for blight to be removed from their neighborhood,” Dorsey said in a release. “Today, we have taken large-scale action to remove blight from four city blocks, and as a result, these families will now live in a safer and more beautiful neighborhood.

The Blight Authority had similar programs in Pontiac and Detroit, Michigan. The group glaims Pointiac will be blight-free by the end of the year.

In Detroit, the organization removed more than 25 blocks of blight (924 properties) in 30 days.

St. Louis has more than 7,000 vacant properties.

Copyright 2019 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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