Kinder Steps Up Blight Fight

KINDER, LA (AP) — The City Council has taken the first steps toward removing several neighborhood eyesores in Kinder.

         The American Press reported the council granted owners of two condemned properties time to bring the structures up to code or face demolition orders.

         Demolition contracts also have been executed on two other properties, while the owner of another condemned property was given time to obtain permits to renovate the structure.

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         "We have been working on this for three or four years now," Mayor Estes LeDoux Jr. said of efforts to crack down on rundown houses, junked property and unkempt lots. "We have made a lot of progress, but still have to continue until it is done,"

         About five structures have been condemned this year, he said.

         "Ninety-nine percent of these properties are abandoned and have no one taking care of them, thus leaving the burden on the town to maintain the property," he said.

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         City crews are assigned to maintain overgrown properties, he said.

         Any structure that is not inhabited can be considered for condemnations if it fails to meet inspection standards, town engineer Tom David said.

         "Some of these structures condemn themselves just by neglect and lack of good stewardship," David said. "Once they get in a blight condition most of them are not economically feasible to repair and if blight isn't dealt with, it grows and that affects neighboring properties."

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         Many of the structures have caved-in roofs, broken windows and weeds and debris in the yard. Others are burned-out structures or infested with vermin, creating safety and health concerns.

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