Blight strike team demolishes blighted home, tours other properties in BR
BATON ROUGE - The city's Blight Strike Team hit the streets of various parts of Baton Rouge to identify blighted properties Thursday.
The group's goal is to identify the owners of blighted homes and businesses and go through the legal process to get those houses condemned. Right now, the mayor says they have 6,800 adjudicated properties on the list.
A busload of city officials, blight committee members and stakeholders in the community took a 'blight tour', where they identified vacant lots and blighted properties.
During the tour, city leaders discussed the business partnerships that would offer home opportunities in vacant lots.
The tour also consisted of a demolition on Elmer Avenue in the Scotlandville community. The house came down in a matter of minutes as dozens of bystanders watched.
Judith Brun is the executive director of the neighborhood revitalization program called 'Take Care' and says she, along with community residents, works to identify blighted properties to help better their neighborhood.
"We did an analysis of the neighborhood. Properties that needed to be demolished, properties that we emptied and could easily be rented and put back in economic commerce," says Brun.
However, the home on Elmer Street took two years before it could be demolished due to the legal process.
"A lot of it has to do with lack of clear title to the house. That's one of the difficulties of houses in neighborhoods where there's a good bit of poverty or where their houses of heirs that have not been... The sessions have not been open," said Brun.
Mayor Sharon Weston Broome attended the 'blight tour' along with other city officials like Baton Rouge Police Chief Paul Murphy, because they believe blight coincides with the city's crime issues.
"We want people to know in the community that, first and foremost, our blight strike team is actively at work," said Mayor Sharon Weston Broome.