East Akron Neighborhood Development Corp. (EANDC) recently participated in the city of Akron’s parcel survey, which mapped and described all properties throughout the city – business, industrial and residential. The city is in the early stages of deciding how they will use the information, and how to allow planning groups access to the information.
The survey showed that most of the parcels in the city are occupied, and in good physical condition. But there are about 5,000 empty structures in Akron. A study from 2005 by the National Vacant Properties Campaign shows that one abandoned property can reduce property values by $7,627 when within 150 feet (three houses away). Values fall up to $3,540 when as much as nine houses away. So what can be done? Here are some low cost strategies:
First, we need to make sure the structure is secure – meaning no open access to the building. The city Department of Neighborhood Assistance responds to phone calls to board and secure buildings. If you know of one to be addressed, call (330) 375-2366 to report it.
Next, we need to keep the yard clean. Trimmed bushes and a shoveled walk make it a less obvious target. The city has more than it can handle. So if you help in your area, you’ll be a neighborhood hero.
Third, organize. Block Clubs are a proven way to get action on the issues. Organizations like EANDC can help, but it’s vital that residents and other community members take an active role in the future of their neighborhood.
Fourth, call or email your Council person. Go to the Ward meetings. They may need to make changes to policy, to reflect common sense strategies. This is a tough issue, but with the voters speaking up, our leaders will continue to work on it.
The survey map of the City tells the current condition of properties, but the character of our residents and policy makers will make the difference. Together we can make it better for all of our communities, especially those hardest hit with abandoned homes in their neighborhood.
For information, visit eandc.org.