City of Tulsa spring cleaning time

Friday, April 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Spring-cleaning is in full gear. Many Tulsans wonder what they can do to get eyesores or possible hazardous vacant homes out of their neighborhoods. KOTV's Donn Robertson went out with a city inspector Thursday and shows how the city is trying to clean up neighborhoods.

City Inspectors say that after a fire gutted a local home, it is a hazard to the neighborhood. They want it demolished, so a new home can come here. Two other homes on this block are boarded up. The city says if they can help the owners fix up or replace homes, it will help the entire neighborhood. Boarded up homes, or unkept yards only bring down property values. Wanda Whiteside lives near the vacant homes on 2nd and Trenton. She's tired of fixing up her home as her neighborhood deteriorates. "Would you want one near your house looking like these in your neighborhood."

City of Tulsa inspector, Lynda Burris, "We always welcome citizens complaints." City inspectors rely heavily on neighbors to help them order a cleanup. Burris: "The other people start saying wow look how nice that looks, let’s fix up our house. Now we have something to work toward, to bring our property values up." Sometimes it takes a warning or citation to bring on a cleanup, many times the city will work with owners of unlivable homes, offering no or low interest loans to fix them up or a federal grant to pay for the demolition. "People are becoming more aware that this lot is worth much more with this house off of here."

Tulsa estimates it has 4,000 vacant homes. City leaders say a new ordinance allowing the city to demolish homes when no one has lived in them for three years is helping the cleanup. Neighbors near 31st and Harvard used the new ordinance to bring on the possible demolition of a local house. The city says nobody has lived in the home since 1994. The city says the owner is trying to fix it up, to escape the wrecking ball. Neighborhood inspections Buddy Smith, "Our goal is not to see how many properties we can demolish. We would like to see property improved and someone living in it."

Whiteside says one more years and the boarded up homes near her will be eligible for the wrecking ball. "It sure would help alot, especially those, they are looking real bad."