Building Commission Proposes Vacant Home Registry For Evansville

Published 08/12 2014 07:01PM

Updated 08/12 2014 07:52PM

The City of Evansville is taking more steps in the battle against vacant properties. Soon there could be an official registry to keep track of them all. The city says these homes drain their resources making the registry a necessary step.

"I've never seen so many abandoned homes before", says Lana Gonzalez.

"Just dilapidation" added, Charles Folden.

Vacant homes are an eye soar in any neighborhood including the River City.

Folden says, "It decreases the value definitely. It decreases the value".

The issue has not gone unnoticed by the city who inspect and maintain the homes. A new proposal for a Vacant Home Registry was introduced and officials say it's desperately needed. The Building Commission is still in the preliminary stages of what the online registry will include but, say it will be similar to the programs in South Bend and Clarkesville, Indiana.

Building Commissioner, Ben Miller says the registry will make it easier to make note of all vacant homes and their owners. Penalties could also be tied to property taxes if the homes are not kept.

"People just walk away from them and they really drain city resources. We're out there. We have to mow them. Nobody is paying the sewer bill on them!", Miller added.

Charles Folden has lived in Evansville for 8 years and says the tally on vacant homes are going up. 

"People should have the integrity of home ownership and uplift the property as they own their own homes. It should be an inspiration for the whole community" Folden says.

Neighbors say the empty lots attract trespassers and illegal activity. Danny Fitzgerald says the homeless seek shelter in these homes.

"In the winter they try to get out of the weather and try to break into a place that's been empty for so long", added Fitzgerald.

While the city looks into different options folks are also offering their own suggestions in turning these communities around.

Lana Gonzalez adds, "the best idea for the homes would be for the city to find a way for low income families to be able to purchase the houses".

Report by Fadia Patterson

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