Sunday, September 23, 2007

"Blight" or "Beautiful"

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.

2 comments:

Mark said...

Kurt:

Thanks for this useful info in your last report, and we have definitely had our share of inattentive absentee landlords in our neighborhood. It would be great if you could also post the link to the city website where we can find the names of landlords of specific rental units if we wish to contact them.

I also read with your interest your comments on Turley vs. Coy Porter in the upcoming election. I need to add one additional concern I have about Turley: his unethical, dishonest behavior on occasion. I refer above all to his efforts a year or two ago to secretly purchase a set of homes which I believe the city had agreed to attempt to purchase. (And please do clarify any misconstrued facts relative to this incident.) This was exactly the kind of ethically-challenged, underhanded dealing for which our mayor and city council have acquired a reputation over the years when it comes to all matters real estate. The most egregious examples of this are the destruction of the Hotel Utah and the St. Francis Church, of course, and the attempted destruction of what is now the Provo Library. I fear that the election of a development-at-almost-any-cost candidate such as Turley would lead to more of this same kind of short-sighted decision-making in regard to the future of our city.

unjedai said...

That's a nice looking house you have pictured there. :)

-Michael Kennard