Advocacy groups, city fighting blight to restore East End

Vacant properties are sometimes barely noticeable, but in some Lexington neighborhoods abandoned properties have become the norm.

A surplus of vacant housing can put an undue and unfair burden on neighborhoods, with unsecured buildings covered in trash, weeds and in disrepair.

Lexington Herald-Leader
By Billie Mallory
June 16, 2016

All of this invites vagrancy and increases the likelihood of criminal activity. None of this may seem relevant unless you live in a neighborhood with street after street of vacant and boarded-up houses, bordered by trash-strewn and weed-covered lots that are devastating to a neighborhood struggling to remain viable for its lower-income, often aging and disabled residents.

Such a neighborhood lies northeast of downtown, known as the East End.

According to recent research from the Vacant Property Research Network, “residents in blighted areas are politically, economically and socially marginalized and exposed to greater than average safety and contamination issues” including lead paint, asbestos, inadequate insulation, aged-out plumbing and electrical systems.

Blight also refers more broadly to litter/trash, vacant/overgrown lots, inadequate street lighting, lack of sidewalks and other basic services and amenities.

The Keep America Beautiful organization has also found that blighted properties “cost city government $5,000 to $35,000 per property and that vacant properties have higher risks of fires, vandalism and other criminal behaviors; also residents in such neighborhoods have greater exposure to public health and environmental risks.”

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