DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The City of Dayton is cleaning and mowing vacant lots in hopes of promoting an enhanced quality of life and more investment in its neighborhoods.
The public works office has hired crew members to tend to more than 6,500 abandoned properties between February and October. Director of public works, Fred Stovall, said one of the main goals of the program is to improve the quality of life of people who live in the city.
“The quality of life means when you go into the neighborhood and if there’s trash on the streets, or you see abandoned houses where the grass is tall [and has] broken windows, then it kind of gives somewhat of a fear factor, unfortunately. You know, people will drive through and feel unsafe or feel there may be crime in the neighborhood, and that’s not the case every time.”
He said by cutting down overgrown lots and picking up debris, people can see what’s happening around their neighborhoods and develop more pride in their communities. Beyond that, he said there are a number of motivators to keep your property clean, some of which involve financial consequences.
“If we do every five cycles, then that’s what — about $1,200 that you could get billed for not taking care of a property that you own. And if you don’t pay the bill, then that gets applied to the property taxes, and then it stays there until the property taxes are paid.”
But the benefits of taking care of the city are even more plentiful, Stovall explained, and may include more investment and increased property values.
“It kind of invites people to still invest in the neighborhood. Somebody may see a property and say, ‘I can buy that, fix it up, live in it, or maybe even sell it.’ But…also [for] the value of the people who still live here, it helps sustain some of their property value in his neighborhood, and it doesn’t continue to go into a declining situation, because you see what’s going on around that house.”
Most importantly, Stovall said community members can work to promote pride within their own neighborhoods. He said community members can coordinate with their neighbors and the public works department to plan clean ups on weekends, while resources, including free trash pickup will be offered by the city.