Removing blight important for neighborhoods

Published 10:16 am Friday, April 7, 2017

Revitalizing an aging or dilapidated neighborhood can be a daunting task, one that can often seem so overwhelming it never even gets off the ground.

We believe the city of Winchester’s decision to continue to address some of the worst eyesores in the community is a smart decision.

The only way to fully achieve community revitalization is one block at a time.

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The city is seeking up to a $1 million in Community Development Block Grant funds for work on Lincoln Street, between Flanagan and East Hickman streets.

This is one of the worst areas in the city. Several parcels of property are contributing little or nothing to the property tax base.

Certainly, it will be an expensive and long process, but the impact of removing blights in a neighborhood and re-instilling a sense of community pride in the residents who live nearby is almost impossible to put a price tag on.

With this project, as well as the ongoing work to implement the downtown master plan, it is the perfect time for the city to take a long, hard look at its property maintenance and code enforcement ordinances.

Far too many people are allowed to accumulate junk, broken down cars, garbage and other eyesores on their property. Basic building infrastructure and cosmetic issues need to be considered as well.

The city must get aggressive with property owners who refuse to live up to acceptable standards and follow the law.

It starts with strengthening the existing ordinances and must continue with firm enforcement of those, which may include fines and citations for those who simply won’t be part of the solution.

Community cleanup and revitalization are initiatives that take time, money and a consistent approach, but they also offer returns on the investments that are absolutely priceless.