Demolitions a good start to expensive problem – Depends?

Finding resources to do more will be challenge – what? – Is unemployment “0” %, NO! – so there’s plenty of resources, unless of coarse like everything else…the only resource you believe is the answer to all issues – “money”. I am sure IF we want this problem resolved, we must limit the governments involvement and bureaucratic red tape. Asbestos being the red tape this time?.

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Mansfield residents are beginning to see real progress with the demolition of uninhabited, dilapidated houses throughout the downtown area.

We encourage Mayor Tim Theaker and other city officials to continue to seek the resources needed to take down these eyesores.

One of the worst of these came down Friday on Greenwood Avenue. Located at the entrance to a south side neighborhood and adjacent to several Lexington Avenue businesses, the crumbling home had become a serious problem.

Like this home, the hundreds of uninhabitable homes around the city have become havens of criminal activity. Many have been stripped of anything valuable: plumbing, electrical fixtures, whatever.

The city had hoped to take down 300 homes using a variety of grants, but the discovery of asbestos in many of the properties has increased the cost of demolition, consequently reducing the number of homes that can be torn down.

It’s estimated now that the city may be able to afford to remove only about 200 homes, just 10 percent of the properties that really should be razed.

The question then becomes, “which homes come down first?”

If you live next to one of these eyesores, you would argue that the home next to you should be the first to come down. If you are concerned about economic development and attracting new business to town, you no doubt want those that are most visible to visitors to come down first.

There is a real debate on how the city should attack the problem.

We recommend a common sense approach. First, take down those that create the greatest safety hazard to residents. Next, focus on the those that require the least amount of dollars — get the biggest bang for the buck. Then, look at those that are in highly visible areas.

We also urge the mayor and others to go after funding to continue to attack these problem properties.

The city already is using federal money from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program for demolition. More money is coming from the “Moving Ohio Forward” dollars directed by Attorney General Mike DeWine’s mortgage fraud settlement with mortgage holders.

The Richland County Foundation contributed a $50,000 grant to the city to expedite payment to local contractors waiting on “Moving Ohio Forward” dollars.

This a good start, but if this removes only 10 percent of the blighted properties in town, we’ll need a lot more money.

I don’t know about you, but I think they should focus on the blighted homes on the main paths that take you through the heart (Downtown). Have you taken a drive to the miracle mile in Ontario to Downtown lately?.

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