Ok, we’ve now all heard about the Smart Decline initiatives being implemented in Youngstown, Ohio and being considered (?) in Dayton. Here is another great idea from the king of struggling American cities – Flint, MI…
"Abandoned homes are a big problem in Flint, Mich., a former manufacturing stronghold that is losing jobs and residents.
In some neighborhoods five or more houses in a row are boarded up, as one owner after another packs up and leaves. Once they have sat vacant too long bulldozers come to demolish them.
But the county is stepping in and taking control of the city’s tax-foreclosed properties, selling plots to neighbors for a dollar or paying churches to maintain them.
The Genesee County Land Bank is demolishing the abandoned homes in an attempt to end decay and help Flint downsize gracefully.
The lots are sold to the neighbor for a dollar, or turned into parks."
That’s right – instead of simply auctioning off abandoned houses to slumlords and allowing the cycle of crime & abandonment continue, why not give the tax-foreclosed property to the next door homeowners for a buck after demolishing the house? This could be an effective way of improving many of Dayton’s neighborhoods. And would be a nice reward for the home owners that are sticking it out and trying to hold their neighborhoods together. Yes, there would obviously have to be some rules… but imagine the new urban vegetable gardens that could take the place of crack houses!