MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Opinion

April 6, 2013

City should speed up demolition

Muskogee should  tear down as many derelict houses and dilapidated structures as possible in the shortest time possible.

Muskogee has about 400 condemned houses waiting for the city to get enough funding to begin demolition.

The homes have been condemned and have gone through any appeals process.

But the city has had only enough funding to demolish about 40 structures per year.

Demolishing the 400 backlogged structures would cost somewhere around $2 million.

That is a lot of money.

But the price is worth the benefit.

Imagine the difference in Muskogee’s appearance if the city could dedicate a year to eradicate 400 unsightly structures.

 The city has demolished around 850 structures since its demolition program started in 1998.

The city can’t afford to wait another 10 years to make a dent in our image.

A site coordinator told Mayor Bob Coburn one way the city could improve its chances of attracting new business was to clean up our “junky looking town.”

The city can’t afford to knock down that many homes in one year without some kind of infusion of cash.

The city spends about $200,000 per year on the program. Half of that amount comes from a grant.

Voters will soon be asked to extend a tax for capital improvement projects.

City Manager Greg Buckley suggested city councilors may want to consider the possibility of including the demolition program as part of the city’s next capital improvements program.

That’s a good idea.

The city must find enough funding to make a huge dent in the number of structures waiting to be demolished.

That’s the quickest way to change our image overnight.

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