Fall River mayor Paul Coogan has been telling the media about his focus and his plan to rid the city of the abandon homes and storefront that are an eyesore.
Coogan went as far as to have a friend who understands the real estate world to look up the owner of a property that needs significant repairs or to take it down. Coogan stated that he called the owner, asking him what his plan for the property. Coogan told the owner they need to fix it up or sell it because it can’t just sit there like that. Coogan said he is going all around the city looking at homes and stores that require repair or need to be wrecked or sold.
Fall River has its fair share of properties that, for a host of reasons, needs a lot of repairs. Some are due to landlords who live out of the city and let them run down. Some have bank liens, and others have city tax liens. The tax lies are a big problem. The city building inspectors will not give a permit to repair for any place that has back tax unpaid. That is where Mayor Coogan is going to need to think outside the box and permit the owners to improve the houses or stores.
Coogan had said that he wants to see if he can find a way to get these properties fixed up and on the tax rolls. Houses in some areas are going to be more of a challenge for him to work out a plan. Area’s like 5th Street, Gorky Row, Pleasant St in the Flint are area’s that it’s hard to find anyone to invest there. You don’t have much-walking traffic that has extra cash to spend in a store. The stores go out of business, and the property owner has no rents to pay the taxes and note. In the end, some walk away from the properties.
One thing we don’t hear much about since the election is over is the big drug problem here in the city. Truth is the neighborhoods with the most drugs are the ones that have the most abandon or blighted properties. Coogan is going to find it very hard to get anyone to invest in these high drug use areas. Why would they? Why would someone put their money into a property that is in a drug-infested area? There is no (ROI), return on investment.
The first thing that needs to happen is to show the city and the neighborhoods that the mayor cares about the drug problem, and he is actively working on plans to decrease the drug dealing and use. Not having a Drug Reduction Plan is not how you show people you want them to invest in an area. No action or coordinator, no visible work. It sends a lousy message to the homeowner, business, and potential investors.
Let’s not put the cart before the horse, which appears to be what is happening right now.