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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tribune Gives Greeley Council Bad Brownie Points

Housing blight?  Perhaps the title needs a little work Tribune people.  Greeley is aiming to help the middle class secure their property values.  Spending that money on cleaning up the barrio or to focus on helping senior citizens on fixed incomes save their homes and property might be an idea with a little more "exceptional" merit. It would be worth acknowledging the Council for making real steps towards the portion of the community it has been under serving except around election time. 

Clearly "blight" has lost any substantive meaning as either a description of urban conditions or a target for public policy. Blight is less an objective condition than it is a legal pretext for various forms of commercial tax abatement that, in most settings, divert money from schools and county-funded social services. (20) Redevelopment policies originally intended to address unsafe or insufficient urban housing are now more routinely employed to subsidize the building of suburban shopping malls. (21) And such policies (especially state TIF programs) not only ignore the ongoing urban crisis, but by subsidizing sprawl, routinely contribute to blight in the cities under the pretext of fighting it in the suburbs. (22)

This effort, from the Tribune article content, doesn't appear to really have the political value that the Tribune is selling it as containing even if the source of funds are federal stimulus money rather than State monies.  Of course the suggestion for the viewpoint may have come from a Town Council press release or meeting.

Maybe if the Council would take the homes purchased and make them available to needy displaced families or local nonprofits for a community project the Council might have a chance at scoring a "nice guy" hit.  From what I have observed about Greeley and the special interest group in charge of running Greeley these ideas have about as much chance of happening as the United States entering an ice age in 2010.

It will be nice to see these declining properties cleaned up I agree. They are a red flag waving in all our faces about the pitfalls of bad planning and allowing the checks and balances in a good democracy to go wanting.  But let's paint the Council's action with less political hogwash and use the colors truly represented--black ink covering red-inked arses. As compared to helping out those with black and blue arses from years of local governmental undersight, ignorance, and neglect.

Just my thoughts of course.
Greeley aims to use stimulus to address housing blight | Greeley Tribune
Officials from the city of Greeley — along with Weld County — hope to buy 40 to 50 foreclosed or abandoned properties in Greeley and Weld.

“If we can go in and do a strategic purchase, it may be just enough to help other houses in the neighborhood stabilize,” said Becky Safarik, director of community development for the city of Greeley, which next month will present its request for stimulus funding to the state's Department of Housing.

Greeley and Weld County would operate the project together; if they are given the money, they have only 18 months to use it. While they could buy properties for resale, the program also would allow the government entity to buy a property, raze it and build either a new home or use the land for city functions, such as parks.

“This is an opportunity for us to go into these neighborhoods and reacquaint folks with the fact that we are going after foreclosures so your property values don't sink,” Safarik said.

Admittedly, finding ready buyers for recently purchased and rehabilitated properties could be hard, given the market and availability of loans, as well has the number of investors snapping up foreclosed properties.

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