Thanks to more cash, more condemned houses will come down

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – Earlier this year Jonesboro citizens sounded off about what concerns them most.  One of the biggest complaint folks had are the numerous properties across the city that are condemned.  This year the city has tightened the budget in a lot of places.  The budget to tear down condemned houses started the year at $20,000.  That money ran out in early spring.  With no cash, no work can be done.

"We listened to the people and we went and looked at those and sure enough they're totally unsafe and we're going to get them down," said Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin.

Perrin said demolition, removal and dumping costs to get rid of one of these condemned homes costs the city just under $3,000.

"We want to make sure we have enough funds transferred over there to take care of that," said Perrin.

Code enforcement has identified 14 structures in the city that are in bad shape.  Each of these properties is legally vacant.

"They may have moved out of town.  They don't care it's not leased, it's not rented so they're not getting any income and they're not going to do anything about it," said Perrin.

Some of the properties are so overgrown with weeds, vines have begun growing inside the homes.

Homeowners who live next to an abandoned property are the real victims. 

"We've had just an influx of critters like raccoons and opossums," said Steve Barkley.

Barkley said he's even seen rats run across the yard.  Barkley said the broken boards, exposed insulation, and holes in the house make his neighborhood look bad.

"They don't notice the stuff that's kept up as much as they notice the stuff that's not kept up," said Barkley.

In the past two years, Barkley has even mowed the yard of that abandoned home.  Not knowing that it had been foreclosed on.  Finally this year he contacted code enforcement, now he's hoping that house will come down.

Mayor Perrin said the city council must approve the $52,000 needed to tear down the houses.

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