City To Tear Down Dozens of Houses
OMAHA, NE - The city of Omaha will be tearing down dozens of abandoned homes.
The mayor's landlord task force made the recommendations, which are designed to make Omaha neighborhoods safer.
"We have a number of things that we're trying to put together that would make the neighborhoods better, safer and add more families to the mix of neighborhoods," said Mayor Jim Suttle.
The city has an eye on 45 houses. On Monday, the city took down a home near 31st St. and Redick Ave.
"It would be better to have an empty space than have a burned-out house like that," said Sherry Beaugard, who lives near the demolished home. "It's not good for the neighborhood."
The look, feel and safety of metro neighborhoods is why city officials say they are investing into the take down of houses.
"We have heard this over and over again from residents that we need to address the problem of abandoned buildings, empty lots and do something to make it safer for the community," said Councilman Ben Gray.
Beaugard's neighbor's house burned down about a year ago.
"When it caught on fire, it burned pretty good," she said. "Every now and then, when the wind is high, stuff blows off, down in the street and in my yard. Then I have to clean it up. I've been wondering when (the city) was going to do something about it."
It's not just the look of the neighborhood that has Beaugard concerned, but also the safety of those who live nearby.
"There are kids around here," said Beaugard. "There are teenagers and smaller kids (around here). You know how kids are. They're curious. They want to go over there and look. I have grand kids, and they're always going over there to look and see just to be nosy. That's not good. That's not safe."
The project will cost $800,000.
Demolition is just one of the task force's recommendations.
Its asking the unicameral to pass a measure that would hold back insurance money to pay for demolition when a vacant house burns down.
It also supports a new city ordinance that would allow landlords to turn over their eviction rights to the city when they have trouble kicking out a tenant.