5/25/2010

Demolition Fund

Posted by MJ


We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.  To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.

-W. Churchhill
The Buffalo News reported that the city has established a fund to help demolish vacant houses.

The city has created a fund to be used to pay for demolition of vacant, derelict houses.
The Common Council last week appropriated $100,000, left over from last year’s tax foreclosure process, to start the fund.
The fund will continue to be built each year by taking any revenue over and above the foreclosure revenue estimate in the city budget, which is $142,500.
Mayor Michael W. Tucker said he thinks the initial $100,000 will pay for about four demolitions along with asbestos removal from the affected homes.
However, he noted that the city must hold title to the houses it plans to demolish before it can do anything about them....
I'll agree that an unsafe structure should come down but why should we let them get that far? Where the funds for preserving structures until suitible owners are can be found? The lead in is an example of such a structure on Genesee St. Parts of the roof have been tarped which is a fragile fix (though much appreciated after watching the holes start to grow.)


Once a roof goes on a structure the water creates exponential damage. Why not head off these demolitions with preventive actions like replacing roofs on notable structures? Or how about matching grants to people willing to invest the sweat equity to make inner city housing rehabilitations monetarily feasible?

While I can understand some demolition of smaller structures, it is a quick path to irreparable removal of the urban fabric of the neighborhood. Once demolished an irreversible decision has been made. An empty lot may add $1,000 or so of value to the street and a temporary halt to disinvestment. A rehabilitated structure will add up to 100x more value for the piece of property and actually encourage further growth.

Where would you rather invest your time and money: an area with houses being knocked down or one with houses being rehabilitated? It’s the more difficult path but why not fund growth?

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is a shame that many of these houses must be demolished because of neglect over the years-in many cases I blame the city just as much as the homeowners for allowing the deterioration to get so far. I do think it is a good idea to use part of the auction proceeds for this purpose- I hope that some of these burned out homes will now be taken care of.

Rocketboy said...

Take a drive down the Prudden & Kandt section of Genesse street. Kudos to them for working on cleaning up the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Empty lots are not always the solution either. Take a a close look at all the debree laying around there. It's too bad that those pieces of land aren't seeded and grated or possibly a garden put in it's place. But I do agree the Rosenberg's have done quite a bit to clean it up. Also the block club down the street did a nice job with that lot which was an eyesore.

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