Metro Council members concerned about vacant, abandoned buildings

Council members concerned about vacant homes

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- In less than a month, two vacant homes have been the sites of police-involved shootings, once again drawing attention to what some metro council members call a growing problem -- vacant and abandoned homes.

The shooting on Magazine Street near 26th Street is in one of the hot zones of vacant and abandoned properties, mostly in West and South Louisville, according to a map provided by Louisville Forward.

"There is so much crime, there is drug activity and we have had two police shootings in abandoned houses, and you know it’s beginning to get to be a big problem," Council Member Barbara Shanklin, District 2, said.

It’s a problem Council Member Barbara Shanklin, Chair of Community Affairs and Housing Committee, says is a major priority to change. Council member Shanklin is proposing adding money to the budget to pay for more demolition of abandoned, deteriorated properties.

"My committee is pushing to demo a lot of them that are not safe, get rid of them so there is opportunity to redevelop," said Council Member Shanklin.

Develop Louisville estimates there are 5,000 vacant buildings and roughly 2,000 vacant lots in Louisville. They say the city controls roughly 500 vacant parcels that are available for redevelopment. Less than 10 percent of those parcels include a structure.

Council member Cheri Bryant Hamilton says they are hoping for support from state lawmakers considering a bill that she says would change how the metro's land bank acquires abandoned properties.

"These structures are stuck in a legal limbo, many of which are in West Louisville or South Louisville council districts. Banks and other lien holders such as government and creditors have filed thousands of dollars of liens on these vacant, deteriorated, blighted properties that they never evoke or revoke. These liens remain on these properties for years. This lack of action stifles any possible efforts to redevelop the most needy neighborhoods and make home ownership cost-prohibitive," said Council Member Cheri Bryant Hamilton.

At one of the upcoming committee meetings, Councilwoman Shanklin says they plan to go out to a street that has more vacant homes than inhabited homes to get a closer look at the problem. 

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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