|Updated: 2/13 9:15 am
||Published: 2/12 3:35 pm
MUSKOGEE, Okla. - The city of Muskogee is cleaning up the city with a bulldozer.
Crews will demolish 500 homes considered eyesores. The city wants condemned homes gone so they can attract potential builders or home buyers.
FOX23 talked with the city of Muskogee officials, who said they have hundreds of dilapidated homes that need to be removed.
“A lot of these building are single family homes or apartments that have not been kept up by the property owner,” said Howard Brown, city manager of Muskogee.
“The condition with these structures is they are unsafe, unsightly they encourage crime within the neighborhood,” said Gary Garvin, Director of Planning and Community Development for Muskogee.
He said homes like this don’t only effect the neighborhood they effect economic development.
“When you have a business trying to move in and provide jobs for the city of Muskogee, their driving around the city and see dilapidated structures it’s a negative impact on the city. So it doesn’t just effect the neighborhood or the neighbors it effects the entire city in general,” said Garvin.
Garvin said when the homeowner doesn't maintain the home it gets unsafe and then the city has to step in.
And city leaders say this creates a problem.
“Once the property gets condemned the city ends up using city resources or funds to tear down the dilapidated building,” said Brown.
Under the city code Muskogee is forced to have homes that are considered eyesores demolished, they’ve slated 500 for that.
“The public wants clean communities everybody agrees that we want clean safe communities period,” he said.
Even police agree homes and buildings that have been ignored create problems and crime.
“We know when these buildings are not maintained and they are in a dilapidated state it creates an attractive nuisance,” he said.
So city leaders believe they have solution.
“Our plan would be top help that property owner build another building there or in the event that we get to the point where it might get demolished incentivize them to rehab the building,” said Brown.
So they have created what they think could be solutions like the rehabilitation program-- certain home owners could receive up to $20,000 to help them rebuild their home.
“There are some conditions, you have to own your house, you have to live there and you have to be in the low to moderate income level,” said Garvin.
With this program the city has already repaired 177 homes and buildings since 2007.
“So we’ll spend $20,000 we’ll make repairs to the roof, siding, doors, windows, foundation and get the structure water tight to where its secured and improves property value within the neighborhood,” said Garvin.
The City of Muskogee Foundation is helping fund some of the demolition.