OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - The Owensboro City Commission met for a special meeting where the Public Works Department shared its success in dealing with dilapidated homes.
With an increase of over $50,000 in the demolition budget in just two years, public works have been able to take down more than twice the number of blighted homes in the city in 2019.
“If that level of funding is continued over the next couple of years the impact of reducing blight in the city will be significant," Wayne Shelton, the Public Works Director, said.
City Commissioner Larry Conder said increasing the budget has been a priority of his since he was elected three years ago.
“The city of Owensboro is not necessarily Frederica Street or downtown or 54 or other areas like that, but it’s all of it," Conder said. "It’s every one of it. So those properties that have been neglected for a long, long period of time, we owe it to them as city officials to do something about it.”
With the increase in budget, public works have also been able to hire an additional full-time inspector to increase inspections and violations.
Officials with Public works says improving the look of one house or tearing down a dilapidated one can completely change the atmosphere of a neighborhood.
“That instills a little more pride back in that neighborhood, and you start seeing homeowners improve their properties," Shelton said. "They’re doing cleanup, they’re doing that painting, they’re fixing those gutters. It enhances attitude, and it does add to the curb appeal of the city.”
Commissioner Conder is hopeful the budget for demolition will continue to go up so more homes can be taken down that need to in order to make more of an immediate impact on the community.