The heavy lifting that comes in battling blight


Good afternoon,

It’s heavy lifting time for the Administration of City of Wilmington Mayor Michael Purzycki.

Efforts to reduce gun-related homicides are working out especially with the spike in deaths a short drive away in Philadelphia. (A word of caution. Conditions can change in a hurry, but so far so good).

Meanwhile, construction activity is strong but falls short of the boom times seen in other cities.

Next up is dealing with blight and landlords who neglect properties or when push comes to shove abandon their holdings

Rumor and innuendo have allowed opponents to frame the issue in social justice terms with foes raising the specter of overly aggressive inspectorsthrowing people out of their homes.

It led to absurd claimsabout looming gentrification or thecity becoming the owner of condemned properties and allowing blight to worsen.

Wilmington is a long way from seeing Philadelphia’s army of developers moving into previously untouched neighborhoods or government-owned structures becoming a big part of the problem.

Revisions have been made to deal with the fears of homeowners. Never mind that neglectedowner-occupied homes are often firetraps.

A related issue comes with subprime mortgages that some homeowners took out prior to the financial crisis of 2009. One would guess that a few people who did not lose their homes or refinanced are hanging on for dear life.

Purzycki’s administration now faces the task of cutting through the noise and convincing a reluctant council to move forward.

It won’t be easy, butPurzycki is not backing away from an issue that many other mayors would have abandoned in favor of ribbon cuttingsand proclamations. At stake is the next phase of the city’s turnaround.

(See story below for more details).

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