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The Perils of Abandoned Properties

An abandoned green house taken over by weeds.

When nature starts taking over abandoned properties, it’s time to get creative about how this piece of land can be an asset to the community once again. Of course, you can cut your losses and let nature do what it does best, but that’s not always in the best interest for the community. A discarded property, such as the one featured here may have an eerily beautiful appeal to it, but blighted, vacant properties invite crime, erode the value of nearby homes and create health and safety risks for members of the community. Many times the properties are so far down the path of desolation that demolition and starting anew is the only option.

The health and safety risks become apparent as the weeds choke out the structures and animals begin to take up their home along with squatters. Mold begins to climb up the walls like a trailing vine of poison ivy. Depending on the age of the structure, chipping lead-based paint (LBP) may be carried away in the wind contaminating neighboring yards. Deteriorating asbestos containing materials (ACM) have the potential to decrease indoor environmental quality. There’s no telling what the hazards may be lurking until the property is completely assessed prior to redevelopment taking place.

An engaged community with a vision is better equipped to transform a blighted property into an opportunity. Municipalities have found success in attracting buyers to transform these tax-delinquent properties into pocket parks or new homes, but with thousands of vacant properties scattered throughout a city, the process can take years. Land banks help streamline and remove barriers to the redevelopment process, but sometimes plans are already in the works for specific properties.

Fortunately, developers were interested in this abandoned track of land that included homes, a nursery and a pool located in the middle of a suburban development. Following the hazardous materials investigation conducted on this Field Day Friday, this property will be redeveloped into residential properties that will enhance the surrounding area’s curb appeal restoring value back to neighboring homes.

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