Blighted Buildings Vacant Houses Still Plague Niagara Falls

Robert Ventry

Within the city of Niagara Falls there are plenty of vacant and abandon houses, on various streets throughout the city, the majority of them are city owned. These properties hurt the appearance of the neighborhood and bring property values down in the areas they are in. These structures are also a public health threat to the community; they pose many risks to residents, such as high grass, being used to dump garbage, and rodents.

Most of these building are so dilapidated that they are beyond saving; some of these properties have been vacant for decades. Why are these issues allowed to continue, why are these problems not a major concern?  Don’t forget about our neighborhoods, take a look around and it seems like they have been forgotten.

The city has not done any targeted demolitions since 2014, due to funds not being available. What are targeted demolitions, it’s when the city goes into a certain area of the city and tears down most of the vacant houses or buildings in one area. The only demolitions the city has done over the years have been emergency demolitions, because the building was weak and going to collapse, or sadly it had to come down due to a fire.

In previous years between 500,000 to 600,000 was budgeted for demolitions, for 2017 500,000 will go towards demolitions. But is that enough, considering the large number of vacant houses in the city. With the casino money the city received over the years, a million a year should have been spent to address this problem, and it might not be an issue today.

When the city first started receiving casino money it was supposed to be used for neighborhood revitalization, the majority of it should have been spent improving our neighborhoods, there’s more to our neighborhoods then just roads. A million a year should have been spent on roads a million a year on sidewalk replacement, and a million a year should have been spent on demolitions. Unfortunately a lot of the money was spent on things we didn’t need, and not on neighborhood revitalization. We had a perfect opportunity with  casino money the city received; to improve every neighborhood in the city sadly that opportunity could be gone forever.

How come these questions were never asked by some of our elected officials, how come neighborhood revitalization was never the main priority? With the election upon us, some who are up for reelection will say neighborhood revitalization was a priority, but by looking around that don’t seem to be the case. As residents you have to ask your selves are we any better off than we were four years go? We need leaders who are going to stand up for the people and fight to improve and rebuild our neighborhoods, and improve the quality of life for all residents that call Niagara Falls home.

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