Tour studies new use for Indianapolis eyesores

Feb 26, 2014 Full story: WTHR-TV Indianapolis 6

A hearing on township fire department consolidation drew a packed house at the Indiana Statehouse on Wednesday.

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a common man from Indiana

Indianapolis, IN

#1 Feb 28, 2014
They had to abandon the Indianapolis land bank because of fraud, so we are back to 12,000 abandoned buildings the city has to mow each summer, and every year we find a few dead bodies in them. They're used for drug houses and vagrants sleep in them. Ballard swore last year he would tear down 2,000 of them within twelve months, but that was a huge lie never realized. The tax sale came and went with 5200 of them unsold because they were so bad nobody wanted them and they charge huge property taxes on them. So where are we? Back to square one. National press identified Indy only this month as one of the cities with the highest number of boarded up, abandoned buildings. People often joke that we're becoming Detroit, but this property problem is the real thing; if we don't get a grip on it things are going to get worse. Detroit has this new initiative now; because gay people in other parts of the world are so oppressed with death penalties for homosexualty, Detroit is proposing giving gay immigrants sanctuary and asylum in Detroit and giving them a vacant house to boost occupancy and begin generating tax revenues. I couldn't believe it at first, but you know it sounds like an actual plan.
petefrombaltimor e

Indianapolis, IN

#2 Feb 28, 2014
How does one define "Blight "? Does it mean "Empty houses"? Or do cities get to define the term

Imyself live in Baltimore.And i have walked all over the city. As someone who fixes up old houses for a living, i pay attention in my neighborhood to the empty houses.And for every boarded up house[of which there are plenty] there are at least 2 or 3 houses that arent boarded up, but are still empty.You can tell by the "Winterized" signs in the window[meaning that water has been shut off].And the 3 month old rotted phone book left on the front steps.As well as the 20 or so pizza fliers in the front railing.

No one really knows how many houses in Baltimore are vacant. The City says that its around 15 thousand. Nobody believes this.Most studies say around 30 thousand. I myself would guess that its even more[possibly 50 thousand] Keep in mind that Baltimore's population has fallen from 950,00 to 637,000. A lot of that was families.But each family didnt have ten kids.So if 300,000 people left Baltimore, thats a lot of empty houses.

So i wouldnt trust any statistics given by Baltimore City. We are a city that literaally had a 90 % drop in rape over a 3 year period , for the simple reason that the Police Department deliberatly judged almost all rapes in Baltimore to be false claims[in order to bring the official crime rate d won]
monkeyrotica

Indianapolis, IN

#3 Feb 28, 2014
Similar situation in DC. I'm not even sure the District makes the distinction between "blighted" and "vacant" housing. I just know that the majority of abandoned housing is owned by the District itself, with the churches a close second. Unfortunately, the way the City Council has written abandoned property rules, there's little incentive to develop these properties. Case in point: a forclosed bank property downtown was slated to be redeveloped as the Armenian Holocaust Museum. Since the foundation in charge of the development is suing a former chairperson, that process is on hold while this property a block away from the White House continues to deteriorate. Locals petitioned for the Council to declare it a nuisance property and be taxed at a higher rate. After the Council was finished, not only had they not declared it a nuisance property, they LOWERED the tax rate and gave the foundation another five years to redevelop the property. Most tax auctions for forfeited properties downtown result in absentee slumlords paying the outstanding tax burden, then sitting on the property for years until property values rise. That's pretty much what you get when your local governance is a third-rate kleptocracy.
realtor

Indianapolis, IN

#4 Feb 28, 2014
City officials in Baltimore estimate it has 16,000 vacant buildings. In Philadelphia, there are an estimated 40,000 vacant houses, commercial buildings and lots. A 2010 study by the center found that more than one in five addresses in Detroit; Flint, Mich.; and Gary, Ind., were vacant.

The hollowed-out buildings drag down surrounding property values and can invite problems from drug dealing to prostitution. Sites can become stash houses for stolen goods.

Two years ago, Linda Henry, 62, who works part time cleaning offices, started a Facebook page titled Slumlord Watch of Columbus, Ohio. She said she was inspired by Ms. Ott's site.

"When the weather is permissible, I take pictures of nasty houses and post who the owner is," she said.
realtor

Indianapolis, IN

#5 Feb 28, 2014
Since early 2009, Carol Ott has run a website called Baltimore Slumlord Watch. On an almost daily basis, she posts photographs of boarded-up or dilapidated buildings and the names and addresses of owners she identifies through public records.
a common man from Indiana

Indianapolis, IN

#6 Feb 28, 2014
At least half the vacant buildings in Indianapolis are actually owned by the city, which has taken them back for unpaid taxes. They put them in the tax sale, but they can't be sold because the back taxes are too high, and assessed values make the future taxes too high to interest investors, who would have to pour a ton of money into them. So the city just sits on them. They talk about tearing them down, and even claim to, but they don't really tear down very many. If they really wanted to get a grip on the situation they would step up their demolition schedule, and begin to offer houses for $1 to people who would agree to owner occupy them.

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