It takes a team effort to fight blight

Communities big and small are constantly fighting blight.

And there’s a lot of reasons to fight it. No. 1, it makes the community look undesirable to present residents and to those who might want to invest or live in there. It also has a negative effect on surrounding properties and it can reduce property tax revenue. But blight also raises safety concerns for children and potentially can lead to increase in crime.

Residents in Tyler were right to raise their concerns over blight in their town. Earlier this month, The Tyler Tribute reported that a dozen concerned citizens showed up at the City Council meeting to complain about the lack of improvement to blighted properties. And this was not the first time that residents have complained about “run down and unkempt properties and drug houses.”

On Monday, about 30 people showed up to the City Council meeting wanting to know what the city was going to do about the blighted conditions. City Administrator Robert Wolfington gave them an answer. He reported that more than 30 letters were sent out to the residents connected to the properties targeted as violators of city code. Police Chief John Spindler then reported that some of the violators who received the letter claimed they didn’t know about the code.

“It’s been our policy in the past to give them an opportunity to correct it as long as they’re making an effort,” Spindler said.

But one of the best comments from the meeting came from Wolfington. “We all have to work together to take care of these issues. We take action when we hear about concerns,” he said.

For Tyler, working together started with its residents speaking up and voicing concerns to their elected officials. Apparently, those officials heard the message because they sent out the warning letters. Hopefully, violators will act on the warnings and clean up their yards and buildings. However, some of these violators may be elderly or handicapped. They may need a little help. Neighbors helping neighbors is another solution.

But above all, if you see a problem in your community, speak up. The residents of Tyler did just that, and there’s the potential for positive results.