SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced the forming of the Mayor’s Vacant and Abandoned Properties Task Force on Monday. The committee will work to research creative ideas on how to address the growing problem of abandon homes.
Buttigieg announced the task force in front of an abandon home on Longley Avenue that’s scheduled to be demolished on Monday.
Al Carothers’ backdoor to his home shares an alley with the abandoned home, and he’s excited to see it go.
"Look out in the alley, here, and see that change, it's going to be nice,” said Carothers.
After a fire destroyed a different home next-door to his, which also houses his barber shop, he bought the land. Now it serves as a garden with a picnic table.
Carothers said it didn’t take too much extra work to fix up the land, and hope for something similar for the Longley Avenue lot.
"If you take a little time to put in a little effort and a little work, you can keep your neighborhood looking pretty decent,” said Carothers.
That’s just the kind of creativity Buttigieg is hoping the task force will bring forward.
The task force is made up of 14 members and co-chaired by Notre Dame Professor Jim Kelly.
Kelly worked as the executive director of Save a Neighborhood, Inc., as a legal consultant for Baltimore’s Project 5000.
The mayor said the city of South Bend has 1,645 vacant properties according to Code Enforcement.
Buttigieg said the collaboration of different people, with different backgrounds is an important part of the project.
“To have city officials at the table, county officials at the table, and neighborhood groups at the table and really have city wide participation is the only way to move things forward,” said Buttigieg.
The task force will start meeting next week and week every couple of weeks.
“I’m going to ask the task force to propose solutions by midsummer. I would like to see preliminary findings, but we're not going to wait until then to begin to act,” said Buttigieg.
The mayor said he hopes for lots of community involvement, and they’re ironing out the details on a more structured way for the community to get involved.
For now, if you have questions you can contact the mayor’s office by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 574-235-9261.