We all know what "beautiful" is. In terms of a neighborhood, it means well kept lawns, landscaping, beautiful trees and a nicely painted home. It means good sidewalks and streets which aren't covered in litter, and a place where you really want to be. I took a brief bike ride with my son today, and saw a lot of beauty, thankfully.
"Blight" on the other hand, is everything you don't want. Graffiti covered walls, unkept and unwatered lawns, weeds and trash more prevalent than landscaping. It means homes in disrepair. The epitome of this would be an abandoned property with the windows all broken out, and trash covering the ground. Blight spreads, quite insidiously. During the Maeser school renovation, some local "bums" took it upon themselves to break out a few of the old window panes. Soon, there was hardly a sound window left in the building. We don't currently have such an extreme example in our neighborhood, but we have lots of small ones that I'm concerned about.
Those "little" ones are small and large graffiti tags on electrical boxes, and buildings. They are homes and buildings owned by absentee landlords that don't really care about maintaining the building or the grounds. A few years ago, I took Midge Johnson and her husband on a walking tour of the neighborhood to point out the positive and the negative. It didn't take long for her to see the difference between owner occupied structures and absentee owned rentals.
Though things have improved, the struggle is far from over. Sometimes, we just get "used" to blight, and put up with it. This is something we really have to avoid if we are going to improve our neighborhood. Putting up with problem properties isn't a solution.
So, I ask for your help. Please let me know about problem sites, and don't hesitate to use our community resources. If a landlord isn't taking care of a place, look up their contact information on Utah County's website, and call and write them. (http://www.co.utah.us/) If you can't contact them, let the city do it. Our city has a weed abatement ordinance, and of course, a nuisance ordinance. You can reach Community Development by calling 852-6400. Ask for David Heath, or Reta Trimble. David is assigned to our neighborhood, and Reta is his supervisor.
If you see graffiti of any kid, no matter the size, please call 85-CRIME and report it. Provo City will clean off the graffiti, though perhaps not as fast as we would like. Put them to work.
Working together, we can rid ourselves of a lot of "blight," and create a lot more beauty.