Decatur increases pace of demolitions
It is estimated that between 250-300 demolitions of delipidated properties are needed in Decatur on an annual basis to keep pace with the rate of blight in the city. Removal of blight improves quality of life and has been linked to a reduction in crime both nationally and locally thereby increasing public safety. While Decatur has not kept pace with the rate of blight, the city’s pace of demolishing derelict properties is increasing. Year-to-date demolitions through July 2023 were 66 compared to 32 YTD in 2022, an increase of 102%
At its September 5 meeting, the Decatur City Council will likely authorize an additional 11 property demolitions. In addition, another 12 properties are being advanced one-step forward in the demolition process.
How much money does the city need to reduce blight? The city received a $1.25 million grant in 2020 to fund demolitions, cleanups, and lot acquisitions in the Johns Hill Neighborhood. This donation was a critical first step in transforming the neighborhood, and the neighborhood has seen a reduction in crime since the neighborhood was improved (36% reduction in the count of offenses in July-June 2022-2023 vs. July-June 2018-2019).
The Johns Hill Neighborhood represents 4% of the total area of the city’s urban core as a whole. Thus, assuming this neighborhood prior to its positive transformation was representative of the urban core, the city has an immediate need for $31.25 million for demolitions, cleanups, and lot acquisitions in other parts of the city.
PLEASE EXPRESS YOUR VIEWS AT THE NEXT CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Meetings take place at 5:30 PM in the council chambers located on the third floor of the Decatur Civic Center (1 Gary K. Anderson Place). Free parking is available in the lot immediately south of the entrance. Citizens are encouraged to attend meetings and express their views. Citizens are allotted 3 minutes per person near the beginning of each city council meeting. In addition, citizens can provide comments regarding one regular agenda item per meeting for up to three minutes provided they notify the city in advance (and prior to the start of the meeting). You can request to speak on a particular agenda item at a council meeting by filling out an on-line form at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/advance-request-to-speak-at-council-meeting/.
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If you would like to discuss city issues with a council member, phone numbers and email addresses for each council member can be found at the following link: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council/.
AGENDAS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE
An agenda and information about each agenda item for each city council meeting can be found at: https://www.decaturil.gov/mayor-and-council/council-meetings/.