Viewpoint: Vacant buildings made it through the ice storm - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Viewpoint: Vacant buildings made it through the ice storm

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One of the few bits of good news in our recent ice storm was the fact that there were no fires set in vacant buildings.

In the past vagrants broke into these homes, set fires to stay warm, and caused house fires. This not only threatens other buildings nearby, but puts at risk the lives of our firemen and emergency responders called to the scene.

In late December, two firemen died in Chicago, when they went into a burning building to search for survivors in just such a situation.

One of the reasons our risk is lower, is because several more of our local dilapidated houses were demolished in December. The city of Albany is taking down more than 20 dilapidated and blighted homes over the next two months.

We should give credit to our city leaders and Mike Tilson's code enforcement office, for their continued work, eliminating more and more of these eyesores.

Rundown, vacant homes and overgrown lots, attract crooks and vagrants. They make our neighborhoods unsafe, and they hamper positive development and economic growth.

Owners, allowed to let their buildings decay and violate city codes for years is ridiculous.

We applaud city commissioners for passing tougher restrictions. We support giving owners of slum property only one court appearance. Two strikes and they should be out. We agree with speeding up the process, of taking over and demolishing dangerous properties.

Code enforcers, commissioners, the magistrate court, the city manager, and the city attorney need to work together. They need to hold owners of these eyesores responsible.

Let's continue to invest in our future, by cleaning up our city today.

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