Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

City Council to Begin Process of Securing Abandoned Houses

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

City Council to Begin Process of Securing Abandoned Houses

Article excerpt

Oklahoma City will begin in the coming weeks the process of securing unsecured houses on the same scale as the process for demolishing dilapidated structures presently in force.

Anticipated on the Dec. 23 Oklahoma City Council agenda is a list prepared by the newly formed environmental services department of unsecured houses in the city - houses which have been abandoned and need to be boarded up to prevent entry by vagrants, children, animals, as well as exposure to the elements.

The list of the houses have been processed through the "two-tier" (dilapidated/unsecured) procedure adopted by council last February.

"We are now prepared to contract for services to secure the structures and to pursue cost recovery through the county tax rolls," City Manager Terry Childers said. "The procedures for securing will be essentially the same as they are for demolishing dilapidated structures, at the direction of the municipal counselor's office."

Childers also said his staff has been investigating, following a discussion with Ward 2 City Councilwoman Marge Feighny, the possibility of adopting the "citizen builder" program used in Baltimore.

The program entails employing the hardcore unemployed to secure abandoned structures.

Though several council members felt the idea was good one, Ward 1 Councilman I.G. Purser had some reservations about it.

Purser felt the "softcore" unemployed - individuals who were able to hold jobs until they were affected by the local economy - should be included in such a program.

The city staff will present a city program based on the "citizen builder" plan before the end of the year. . .

Coats Authorized to Accept Grant Mayor Andy Coats was authorized Tuesday by city council to be the city's official representative to accept the offer of the $697,000 in Urban Development Action Grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The grant money is one source of funding for the $5.5 million renovation of the edible oils and fats refinery for Wilson Foods Corp.

Presently all the contracts concerning the grant are being drafted, and the mayor had to be designated as the official to receive the funds.

Though HUD has given preliminary approval for the city to receive the grant, all the other sources of financing for the Wilson project must be secured before the city can draw down on the grant money.

The other sources of financing will be in the form of loans and grants from state and local agencies, such as the Oklahoma Industrial Finance Authority and the Oklahoma County Industrial Authority. …

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