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      Swartz Creek wants residents to buy vacant land

      Despite a overwhelming number of foreclosures, a Swartz Creek community is encouraging people to purchase land and possibly build.

      The city is selling some undeveloped lots at rock bottom prices.

      At first, lots were going for around $40,000. Now, between $1,500 and $2,000.

      The Heritage Village subdivision has a handful of lots still vacant. The recession kept the developer from building on all of them.

      It's the same story at the Springbrook East subdivision where there's a dozen of undeveloped lots.

      Springbrook East resident Josephine Goza, who moved in four years ago says, "I thought I was going to watch it develop more houseing and stuff and watch it grow."

      That was before the bubble burst.

      She has no neighbors on the other side of the street.

      The Higdons would like to buy the empty lot next to them so they can have a bigger back yard.

      "{It's} to keep everyone from behind us, someone moving in close to us," says Bob Higdon.

      Swartz Creek now owns the empty lots. It wanted to maintain the atmosphere of the retiree communities.

      "It gave us something of value for the money the city fronted for the assessments and guaranteed us at some future point we'll get a return when they're sold," says Swartz Creek City Manager Paul Bueche.

      Neighbors will likely get first crack at the lots, which are eligible for the lower rate homestead tax.

      Goza is leasing now but would consider buying across the street if the price is right. "It would be nice to see it developed," she says.

      Swartz Creek says it doesn't mind if people put buildings on the lots or simply expand their yard.

      The lots will likely to up for sale in late spring.