By Amanda Amsel
As Prairie Township continues to invest in the community, officials are hoping residents will do the same and maintain their property.
In 2014, the township had 291 complaints regarding nuisance properties, according to township administrator Tracy Hatmaker. He said 156 of those properties were declared nuisance properties by the trustees and 68 were abated by the township.
This year, the numbers have remained high, with 244 complaints coming in; 135 being declared nuisance properties and 52 being abated.
In 2014, over $30,000 was billed to township residents for abating properties that were
unkempt and in 2015, so far approximately, $14,000 has been billed.
“We have a little less this year, but we have only done calculations through August,” Hatmaker said. “In the end, we expect the numbers to be similar to 2014.”
With the new community center opening, the West Broad Street Streetscape and plans for the CIC to improve neighborhoods surrounds West Broad Street, the township has invested millions in the community and hopes residents will pitch in and do their part too.
“We want people to take pride in their home and where they live and that includes maintaining your property,” Hatmaker said. “We have done so much to improve the area, even giving residents loans so they can upgrade their sidewalks. However, we can’t force people to maintain their property until it gets out of control.”
The nuisance properties in the township are also costing taxpayers. This summer, the township hired a part-time employee to solely work on nuisance properties and the remaining of the year at least one township employee works on nuisance cases.
“There are many circumstances that are resulting in nuisance properties in the township, including foreclosures,” Hatmaker said. “The biggest thing we need to communicate is whether you own or rent, you should keep your property maintained. Maintaining your property enhances the quality of life in the township, helps property values and attracts new businesses to the area.”
For more information on nuisance properties in Prairie Township or to report a nuisance property, visit www.prairietownship.org.