DECATUR, Ill. (WAND) – As Decatur moves forward with neighborhood revitalization it may run into problems with out-of-state property owners.

Reverend Stacey Brohard, of the Good Samaritan Inn, points to properties near the Inn.  Many are vacant homes and apartment buildings.  About 20 of them are owned by one individual who lives in the state of Washington.  Most are in serious disrepair and cannot be renovated. 

“If I look at 80% of the boarded-up houses in this neighborhood they belong to him,” Brohard stated while in the 400 block of W. King Street.  “As far as the average price per acre here in the neighborhood over the last ten-years it’s dropped $12,000.”

The out-of-state owner pays property taxes and keeps lawns mowed.  But the structures have serious issues such as holes in roofs and no utilities.

“Broken out windows.  The boards come off of them.  Disrepaired porches.  They’ve really turned into quite the safety problem in the neighborhood,” Brohard said.

Reverend Brohard says he would like to see home owners in the neighborhood continue to make improvements but it’s hard when so many structures near them need to be torn down.

“We’ve been asking the owners to invest more in their properties and help bring the property value up but when you’re looking straight across the street at places like this why would you invest?”