City looking to Springfield for fix to abandoned property problem?


Something new is being done in Springfield that’s helping to fight the problem of homes sitting empty and falling down. It’s a problem here in Peoria that you might notice if you drive around in neighborhoods like Averyville or the Central Bluff.

Here’s what Springfield is doing: There is a section of the Illinois Municipal Code that gives property owners the right to seek legal remedies if a property within 1,200 feet – almost a quarter of a mile – of their own property is in violation of state law or local ordinances. There’s a neighborhood organization — Enos Park — that owns several properties in that neighborhood, giving the group legal standing to file lawsuits on nearby blighted properties.

And they have ACTUALLY won two lawsuits against the owners of two very abandoned, run-down properties.

I’ve written stories on my blog about this. And I sent a copy of one story to Peoria City Manager Pat Urich. And he assigned Ross Black to contact Enos Park and to find how they did it.

So, we may see some action on this front in Peoria.

Or we may see more investment in downtown ballparks and museums. This is Peoria, after all.


Journal Star does a wonderful job telling us about stuff that happened a year ago

I’m going on a little rant here. It’s about the Journal Star, so you understand.

I write this column on Nov. 17. It’s the first day that the Peoria Election Commission accepted petitions to run for the five at-large seats on the Peoria City Council. Five candidates filed — all incumbents — except for county GOP chair Katherine Coyle. Incumbent Chuck Weaver indicated he intended to file later.

I got this story by calling Election Commission Chairman Thomas McBride at about 9:45 a.m. this morning.

Maybe a Journal Star reporter made this same phone call. But you would never know it from looking at the Journal Star’s Website:

Now, they were all hot and heavy covering the one-year anniversary of the tornadoes that hit Washington and Pekin. Oh, yeah.

The Website also covered the heck out of Amtrak opening a direct line between Quincy and Chicago. Now this is big news — if you live in Macomb, which is kinda in the Journal Star’s circulation area. But not so much in Peoria, which most certainly IS in the PJS’s circulation area, where there are a few people who are at least mildly interested in who serves on the City Council.

One day — and I do not believe that day is all that far off — the Journal Star will finally stop publishing. And when it does, the people in charge will wonder what happened.

And on the list of dumb things that the Journal Star has done since Gatehouse Media bought the rag will be today, when Peoria’s one and only newspaper of record ignored today’s breaking news about the makeup of the Peoria Council in favor of out of town news, including an event that happened a year ago.

Billy Dennis

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