Wyandotte takes blight seriously

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — Several recent city council meetings have included discussions about condemning houses or vacated business, or there have been “show cause” hearings about why structures should no longer be.

“We have a very strong property maintenance ordinance,” City Administrator Todd Drysdale said Thursday.

Drysdale said there seems to be more of these items going before city council, but said it is what needs to be done.

“It’s a common occurrence because there is more emphasis on eliminating these types of problems,” Drysdale said.

Targeted properties aren’t just an eyesore. Drysdale said they may have standing water for long periods, fire hazards, unkept grass (over 10 inches tall) abandoned vehicles or broken windows, thus violating the city’s property code and presenting a potential danger to the community.

He said the decisions aren’t made quickly, and the city gives the property owners time to bring the structures up to code. But Drysdale admits some people “drag their feet” in maintaining their property.

“We do give them time to take care of the problems,” Drysdale said.

He said members of the Engineering Department work with the property owners to help develop plans.

“A lot of residents and officials say we give them too much time,” Drysdale said. “We don’t want to be militant about this,” Drysdale said.

Resident Conrad McMurphy doesn’t know about how much time the city gives, but he does see that the city is addressing the issue.

“They seem to be making sure that burned out buildings and eyesores are taken care of faster,” McMurphy said Wednesday, while out for a walk at Bishop Park.

Drysdale said the city’s actions are for the greater good of the community.

“It takes a lot of work to make (the city) beautiful,” Drysdale said. “The priority of the city is to have clean, safe neighborhoods.”

(Tereasa Nims can be reached at tnims@bewickpublications.com.)