On the right track

Published 12:16 am Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just when Washington was headed down the track toward saving some of its older structures, it got derailed.

Earlier this year in an effort to save the house at 507 W. Second St., the City Council voted to sell that house to Reilly Software for $3,500. Reilly Software intended to restore and renovate the house. Then, the dismal economy caught up with Reilly Software.

Because it cannot afford to buy the house, the city is forced to once again seek a buyer for the house by way of the upset bid process. Hopefully, the high bidder this time around will be able to complete the purchase of the house and save it.

The house in question was pursued by the city as a demolition-by-neglect case. That’s how the city became owner of the house.

Several years ago, the city adopted an ordinance designed to prevent property owners, particularly owners of significant historic properties, from allowing their properties to essentially be demolished by neglect. Adopting the ordinance was a good move by the city. Implementing it is a better move.

“I think it’s important for property owners to maintain their property,” Mayor Pro Tempore Bobby Roberson said in March.

Well said, Mr. Roberson, but words are not enough.

The city must get back on track with its efforts to prevent demolition of significant structures by neglect.