DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – There’s a revolving door of blighted properties in the city of Decatur.
"At the end of 2018, the city had 137 properties on its demolition list. At the end of May, that number increased to 182,” Decatur Councilman David Horn explained. “So, while the city did approve 46 houses to be demolished in early March, even if we demolished those houses tomorrow, we'll be back to about 140 properties to demolish."
Councilman Horn says Decatur leaders are constantly working to take down the eyesores. However, between funding and the addition of new problem areas, he says challenges before the city are great.
"With about 200 properties on our demolition list, we're looking at a commitment of about $3 million just to demolish those properties,” he shared. “We boarded up about 75 houses since the start of the year. Over 150 houses since Jan. 1 have been added to the 'unfit for human habitation' list."
One blighted house that still stands is located on West Decatur Street. The fire happened in February, and by March, the house was placed on Decatur’s list of homes to be demolished. However, since it didn’t cause an immediate danger to nearby homes or pedestrians using the sidewalk, it was not approved for emergency demolition. This means the property will have to go through the normal channels to be demolished, which is a lengthy process. In the best-case scenario, Horn says the house could be approved for demolition by late summer or early fall.
Overall, the councilman says it will take a group effort to see lasting change in the community.
"As we think about how to make Decatur stronger, it really is going to take a strong vigilance on the part of our community members. So, if you see something, please let the city know, and we're going to try and address it as quickly as possible,” Horn shared.