Local Community Taking Care of Run-Down Properties

You can drive around any community and see homes that are in need of repair. For the past year, the City of Sand Springs has been working hard to get rid of run-down homes.

By looking at the dilapidated homes, it's obvious they need some work. Part of the roof is gone, they need fresh coat of paint, the windows need to be boarded up and the list of repairs gets long as you keep looking. The city has initiated or investigated 95 cases of rundown homes.

"It's just a matter of bringing it to the forefront and making them aware that hey we have to do something," Sand Springs Fire Chief, Mike Wood said.

To get a notice on a property, either the code enforcement officer sees it, or a neighbor complains. But the issues aren't just about the way they look.

"We had so many houses that were bordered up and then the boards would be torn off. It's a safety concern for children getting in there and for vagrants," Wood said.

Once the notice is placed on the property, the owner has 10 days to decide what they want to do. They can turn over the home and property, make the need repairs to the home, or tear it down themselves. Last year, 20 buildings have been repaired or restored, which is good for the city.

"We do have a little bit of a shortage of houses in the $30, $50, $70 thousand range. So when someone can come in and rehab those and rent them out, it's obviously a good thing," Wood said.

If property owner pays for buildings or structures to be demolished, the city saves an estimated $111,000. The city has spent $15,333 to demolish five buildings that were a public nuisance.

Since the city has been working hard this year they have noticed one thing. "Once we got to looking and took care of some of the major ones within the city limits it started to dwindle pretty fast," Wood said.

Once the cases are initiated, it takes about six months to get the process complete. There are still 21 cases pending for further action.