Villa Grove wrestles with neglected properties
VILLA GROVE — City officials are looking to crack down on neglected properties around town.
For years, the city has tried to enforce ordinances regarding property maintenance through the court system with little success. Alderman Tony Hooker once again this week brought up an abandoned property on West Wilson Street, which has become overgrown and unsafe. The owners live out of state and are unresponsive to city complaints, he said.
Attorney Eric Chovanec advised the council that court proceedings were often lengthy and unproductive when addressing ordinance violations for property conditions. As a next step, he suggested beginning proceedings to condemn properties that are becoming dilapidated and uninhabitable.
Chovanec said the biggest expense to the city would be to demolish houses and other structures and clean up the properties.
"I don't think any money we spend cleaning up the town is a waste of money," said Alderman Mike Greifenkamp, who supported condemnation proceedings on certain properties. The council asked Chovanec to begin condemning two such properties, at 411 W. Wilson and 1 South Richman, both of which are uninhabited and a safety threat to neighbors.
Chovanec also reported that a demolition order is expected for the Main Street properties, which were destroyed by fire in 2011. Cleanup can begin soon after the order is granted and permission is secured for the city to remove debris from the properties.