Two of the Mid-City Neighborhood Organization’s newest board members have been charged with tackling neighborhood blight — and the “blight squad” has identified its first two targets.
The houses at 316 S. Alexander St. and 529 S. Pierce St. sit empty in Mid-City. One missing siding with a bright red city notice on the door. The other leaning towards the property line with vines hanging from the eaves.
“They have a long history and nothing has been done,” said Gabe Bordenave, who will lead the team with member Graham Bosworth.
They decided to start small by targeting just two properties. With so many entities involved, including code enforcement, the health department and the sheriff’s office, Bordenave said this will give them a the chance to get familiar with the city’s process.
He lives near the home on South Alexander Street, and remembers when it went up for tax sale a few years ago but failed to sell with a lien on the property.
“If it’s not financially advantageous for someone to do that then it just sits,” he said.
“We don’t want to prevent persons who want to bring those properties back into commerce,” said Bordenave. “We feel like there should be a quicker way to deal with these properties.”
The home on South Pierce Street was recently scheduled for a hearing with the Code Enforcement Hearing’s Bureau, but it was reset and will be heard again later this summer.
Bordenave and Bosworth will follow these two properties through city’s blight process and hope to eventually tackle more properties in an effort to curb blight in Mid-City.
Bordenave said he plans to inquire with the Mid-City Security District and see if the organization can help pay to secure blighted homes. Which he offered as a temporary fix before a property is demolished or repaired. He said the security district does great work patrolling the neighborhood and offering escorts, and he believes securing properties might also help reduce crime.
Bordenave met with City Councilmember LaToya Cantrell last week and said she is eager to partner with the team.
He is requesting neighbors document any incidents at blighted or abandoned properties and report them. He said residents can send information to email@example.com.