Blight issues stir debate in AP

Sunday Times Newspapers

ALLEN PARK – Property owners may soon receive letters regarding crumbling porches, sidewalks, missing roof shingles and peeling paint, just some of the issues city officials are cracking down on.

“We want to bring the town into more compliance,” Building Department official David Boomer said. “Obviously we have some blight issues we are going to try to work through.”

Boomer said it will take a concerted effort to make changes in the city’s appearance.

One city council member worries the city is attempting to hinder those already hurting as it attempts to crack down on blight issues.

“What are we doing, going after people that can least afford it?” Councilman Dennis Hayes asked. “A lot of people do the best they can to take care of what they have.”

Councilman Harry Sisko said the condition of some areas are troubling, recalling that when he was campaigning, the condition of some of the porches were so bad he couldn’t walk on them.

“There are porches in terrible shape,” Sisko said. “It’s one of the things I noticed that seems to be a problem throughout the city.”

Sisko said sidewalks also are a concern.

“We’ve got some sidewalks that are dangerous,” Sysko said. “It’s a dangerous situation for a lot of people.”

Residents are responsible for the state of their sidewalks, but can’t always afford the financial burden, Boomer said.

The city hasn’t enforced sidewalk compliance since 2004, Boomer said, adding that the city may be able to look for funds to assist in the repair of crumbling walkways.

Boomer further said the department’s customer service isn’t where he would like it to be in keeping the city in compliance, mainly because the staffing levels aren’t optimal.

“I really hope we can get some more enforcement,” Boomer said. “I think that is everyone’s goal.”