Friday, January 22, 2010

Bring Down the House(s)

The city of Troy has been granted over $500,000 from New York State for the purpose of demolishing unsalvageable, city owned properties. I support this endeavor because we are well aware of the negative impact these vacant, run-down buildings have on our neighborhoods. These are the types of properties that become the breeding ground for unsavory activity and are a major health and safety concern for everyone in the neighborhood, especially children. It is my hope that the City Council will support the Mayor’s endeavor.

There are too many buildings that are in extreme disrepair in the city, many of which are beyond repair. Last year I attended a presentation conducted by the city’s Community Development department and a consultant assisting them on the coming years’ consolidated plan and one of the major points that was made was there is an over abundance of “available” housing in the city, especially in the Lansingburgh and South Troy sections. The current conditions in some of those neighborhoods isn’t going to allow for an immediate change to that statistic, but while necessary improvements are being made to improve the quality-of-life issues that exist there are a number of buildings that are sitting vacant and rotting. These are old buildings that haven’t been cared for or maintained properly for a number of years. For the most part investors/absentee landlords weren’t successful in their business ventures, have since left, and the city inherits them mainly due to severely delinquent taxes. It’s a vicious cycle that will continue until it is properly addressed. Until then, the city has only so many resources available to do what is necessary stabilize, market, auction, and eventually “repair” these buildings when they are not bought. Having a large inventory of vacant, unsalvageable buildings is nothing more than a money-pit for our tax dollars. Removing these buildings will go a long way in cleaning up and adding to the marketability of our neighborhoods, and eliminate a potentially tremendous financial and health and safety liability.

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