Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Investing in Warrendale

I had a rather cool experience on Tuesday, August 12 - one that I had to promise not to talk for a couple of days afterwords. I had the pleasure of serving as a tour guide. The attendees on this tour were representatives of various banks as well as other government and financial institutions.

I was able to show them the impact that the foreclosure crisis has had on the Warrendale neighborhood. If there's one vacant home on a given block, the neighbors are generally able to take care of it. We can pick up the trash that inevitably collects around it, mow the lawn and so on.

It's an inconvenience, of course, to have to maintain one's own home as well as a vacant one. However, it is something that we as neighbors can do it.

As the density of vacant homes increases, however, the workload increases proportionately and there are fewer neighbors available to help. This results in a fundamental tipping point whereby the neighbors are overwhelmed, blight overtakes a community and property values plummet out of control.

The goal of this tour was to persuade these entities to make a greater effort to help us avoid vacant homes. No specific promises were made. Regardless, I believe that moments like this are an important step in solving the problem.
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