Lansing Focusing on Red-Tagged Homes

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"It's just a big eyesore."

Brian Shepherd lives on Fenton Street on the south side of Lansing. He lives right next door to a burned out and boarded up home he says has been that way for nearly a year.

"Everyday I get to walk out and look at that beautiful pile of wood over there," he said sarcastically.

There are several hundred red-tagged homes in Lansing and the city's Make Safe or Demolish program has been working to make sure they don't become a more common problem.

After a home gets red-tagged property owners have the chance to plead their case in front of city council to deal with the issue before the city steps in.

But Shepherd said it's been long enough.

"I pray they would come and tear this down just for the safety, the appeal and just to try to make our neighborhood a little better," he said.

The property next to Shepherd's house on Fenton Street was one of three properties on the council's agenda Monday night.

"For all communities, it's something that we deal with on a regular basis," said Lansing City Council President Carol Wood.

"Finding the funds to continue to push this forward and take care of this is always a challenge."

Wood said in the past the city has received some federal funding to pay for demolitions but the bulk of the financial responsibility falls on the property owners.

"But when they're not going to take care of it we have to move forward and say enough is enough," Wood said.

Monday night was an opportunity for those property owners to come forward and lay out a plan to rehab their respective properties. Wood said a good portion of property owners usually do step up when the time comes.

But on Monday night not one of the three property owners showed up.

The property owners will have another opportunity this to come forward at the city's public safety meeting this Wednesday at noon. If they don't the city will step in and take care of the demolition at which point the costs will be added to the property owner's taxes, according to Wood.

Wood said the city has about 300 red-tagged homes.

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