Vacant Homes & Businesses
Move toward eminent domain rulings for vacant Schnucks property: The old Hilander and Schnucks near the Rural Oaks Plaza has been vacant for too long. With no action being taken to improve the area, the public interest must supersede the self-interest greed that too often ruins solid communities. In the spirit of President Theodore Roosevelt, if a piece of vacant land is harming instead of helping the neighborhood, let the democratic process and the people rule. Inaction is intolerable and the feeble efforts by our current public officials will be duly noted by our 2nd Ward.
Expand city razing programs: There is no bigger reminder of urban blight as dilapidated buildings and homes that have fallen into disrepair. Your local government must work to protect your property values, and nothing deflates those values as quickly as uninhabitable and unsightly structures that become prime targets for crime. Knowing how important the responsible use of space is in a city, I will work to ensure condemned buildings are swiftly razed to ensure our broader public safety and to protect our local property values.
Promote "Improve-to-Own" programs: Other Rust Belt cities have become creative in their struggle to mitigate the negative effects vacant buildings have on a neighborhood. Gary, Indiana, for example, has sold distressed properties owned by the city for $1 to residents who pledge to renovate them to standard over a period of five years. During that time, the homeowner pays no property taxes, and after those five years, a new homeowner lives in a renovated house that increases the city's tax base. Complicated problems require creative solutions. We need more of this in Rockford.
Promote "Mow-to-Own" programs:: When Rockford homeowners go out of their way to care for distressed properties nearby, the should be rewarded for it. Mayoral candidate Tom McNamara, in his time as the 3rd Ward's Alderman, has proposed that those who take the time and resources to care for abandoned or distressed properties (thereby saving the City of Rockford time and resources) have a stake in owning the property. I support any citizen who acts for the betterment of their community.