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Letter: Action needed to address dilapidated properties


The condition of many of the properties in Crawfordsville have passed the point of disrepair and are now dilapidated. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a “blighted structure” as: “A structure is blighted when it exhibits objectively determinable signs of deterioration sufficient to constitute a threat to human health, safety, and public welfare.”

A quick survey of downtown buildings and surrounding community details collapsed brick walls and store fronts, porches with no floors, porch roofs supported by two by four’s, abandoned buildings, boarded up windows, impassable sidewalks, unmanaged vegetation growth and houses in obvious disrepair. The buildings pose a serious risk to first responders and the public yet there are no warnings of potential dangers of accessing some of the properties.

Normally urban decay arises where earlier economic growth brought wealth but changes in the local economy have resulted in little or no development; consequently, the properties in the area fall into disrepair. Economic problems could be the reason for the decay, but this blight appears in many structures that are maintained by property management companies that have little or no interest in the condition of the properties. I assume they have the money but have no desire or requirement to repair the properties. Some properties are homeowners who just fail to make simple home repairs or regular maintenance such as mowing the lawn or trimming the landscape. The cost to perform simple yard work is a little effort.

Whatever the reason, I see no effort to have these properties condemned or repaired. It would be nice to see concrete actions taken to resolve some of this blight before it takes over our town.

Bernard Thompson