MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

September 7, 2013

City acts on vacant buildings


— Muskogee city councilors appear to have heard the message loud and clear from their constituents — it’s time to clean up our city.

The Public Works Committee, comprised of the nine city councilors, unanimously passed a new ordinance setting requirements for owners of vacant commercial buildings.

The measure, if passed during Monday’s city council meeting, would establish a program designed to identify and require registration of certain vacant commercial buildings.

The program also would define owners’ responsibilities, hasten rehabilitation efforts, and shift the associated costs of vacancy from taxpayers to the owners.

Public Works Committee members received applause when they passed the measure.

Those same committee members will receive more praise Monday night if they rubber-stamp their measure.

The potential ordinance is not without detractors.

It did not pass the Planning Commission in a unanimous fashion.

There are those who say the measure will heap too much burden on property owners.

The measure could affect whether someone wants to own a building downtown if the measure’s requirements prove onerous.

Muskogee needs to be more business friendly. Muskogee needs to be pro-economic development.

But it has become clear that the citizenry is tired of the same old approach.

Members of Action in Muskogee, a community visioning process, have said it is high time that city administrators step up efforts to make Muskogee more appealing and pleasing visually.

AIM’s voice, among others, has reached the right ears.

Planning commissioners passed the measure.

Public Works Committee members passed the measure.

City councilors should finish the process on Monday.