LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – They are contributing to crime, fire runs and even firefighter injuries: vacant, boarded up houses. Metro government claims changes are underway.
City leaders invited neighbors to a what they dubbed a 'summit' to prove they're tackling the abandoned property problem. Neighbors and community leaders participated in the presentation Wednesday morning.
Spray painted plywood is an all too familiar marker in Michael Mays' neighborhood. One in four houses in the Portland area are vacant, according to the U.S. Census. The number is much higher on Mays' street.
"The whole block is gone. Kind of depressing," Mays said.
The houses surrounding his home and nearly 8,000 residences and buildings throughout the metro are exactly why neighbors spent the morning at the Louisville Memorial Auditorium.
Government personnel like Mary McGuire, leader of the Louisville Metro Vacant Abandoned Properties Initiative, addressed residents Wednesday.
"We're trying to get legislation to make things easier for us like limiting the sale of tax liens to third-parties and the foreclosure process so metro government can more quickly take control of properties," McGuire said.
McGuire said the legislation would cut the red tape to tear down or sell abandoned property.
"We could put it on the market or assemble it through the Land Bank, so if someone wants to do a development they can do a block," she said.
Metro government is trying to make the Land Bank Authority more effective by easing the foreclosure process so the city can take control of properties that need be torn down, sold or grouped into development opportunities.
Much of their progress hinges on the Kentucky General Assembly. They're lobbying legislatures to take action during this session.