Could you imagine living next to a house that's empty, vandalized, maybe even a safety risk? With nearly 1,300 abandoned properties all over South Bend, it's a reality for many families. That’s why a group of men and women, led by Mayor Pete Buttigieg, have one mission ... improve South Bend's neighborhoods.
“The task force is setting out the strategy for responding to vacant properties and preventing the increase in the number of vacant abandoned properties," said Jim Kelly, co-chairman for the Vacant and Abandoned Properties Task Force. "This is based on experiences other cities are having throughout America, it's becoming a national problem."
One woman told WSBT News there are more and more vacant homes popping up in her neighborhood. Near LaPorte Avenue WSBT News counted three properties – all abandoned right next door to each other, some vandalized, some a safety risk, and many beyond repair.
South Bend doesn't have a blank check to tear down every single property. So this task force looked for ways to help determine which buildings and areas are in greater need.
To help get more bang for their buck, the task force could classify properties to help them decide whether a property should be fixed up to code or demolished.
If demolition is the only option, then classifying the properties will help them determine a project's priority.
The task force is also worried about what will happen to the vacant lots once a property is demolished.
The task force also wants to hear from people who live in these neighborhoods next to or near an abandoned property.
A community forum will be held Thursday from 5:30 to 7:30 at Muessel School.