City looking to be more proactive in reducing vacant structures

St. Joseph City Council is looking at more ways to make eliminating and reducing vacant structures throughout neighborhoods a priority.

Posted: Jun 4, 2019 5:28 PM
Updated: Jun 4, 2019 5:32 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) St. Joseph City Council is looking at more ways to make eliminating and reducing vacant structures throughout neighborhoods a priority.

Through a Neighborhood Services Initiative program, city officials looked at various concepts for using funds differently to approach reducing vacant structures in a more proactive way.

One of the concepts suggested utilizing a different funding stream to aid in the demolishment or stabilization of a structure. In other words, the city is hoping to set aside general funds for the process, rather than always leaning on federal funds.

"General funds, as opposed to a federal fund program for demolition, allows the city the ability to do some demolition in a more responsive manner," Clint Thompson, director of Planning and Community Development, said. "With federal funds come restrictions as far as time-frames associated with the process."

The city is looking to set aside $100,000 which would be allocated from the already existing Landfill Fund. These funds are also currently being used for the Property Maintenance Division, which works to eliminate vacant, rundown buildings to improve the look of a neighborhood.

"The use of general funds is allocated in the amount of $100,000 for next fiscal year, which would be set aside to do additional demolitions that the city cannot support from a federal funding program," Thompson said.

Thompson said using general funds can speed up the process of getting a vacant building demolished or stabilized. However, he stresses that the intent of the funds is not to get rid of historic properties.

"These funds will be utilized for structures that are not a historic component to a neighborhood or part of the historic character of the community," Thompson said. 

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