The Blue House Down the Street

On the corner of Main and North Street lays a three story house. It once stood tall and majestic, but now it only remains tall. The house that once promised to be a warm home for a family now sits abandoned, dark even in the daylight. Light blue siding covers a fourth of the house while the rest bares its wood that is slowly rotting. Its windows are half broken while the doors are attached by one hinge. A small circular window towers in the left, third story. At one point in time that window was clear with a pearly white trim, but now when the sun shines through the window it remains cloudy with chipped paint. Shingles are falling, revealing the roof’s true color of grey. On the top level, at the back its inner most layer is exposed as the house wrap whips in the wind.

As a child, I remember watching that very house be built three blocks up from me. I envisioned what it would look like finished. Dreams of a vintage doll house sitting in the top bay window danced through my head. As years went by those dreams aged as did the house, and slowly all hope of that dream home being finished faded. The family that once planned to live there gave up on the building and left town. Waiting for someone to pick up where that family left off, the town never touched the house. Now, the house has deteriorated to the point that there is no hope for its future. In my town of Memphis, houses like the one on Main and North Street are popping up everywhere. With homes being abandoned and not taken care of, the state of the housing market is decreasing. This means the property value of the community as a whole is going down. Property value gives a home buyer an idea of the true price of a home rather than the asking price. Location, size, and improvements are the key factors that go into calculating property value. If a property is in poor shape, whether it be the home’s exterior, interior, or yard, the value with be considered low. If a home has a low property, it is less likely to sell. Due to the amount of dilapidated homes in Memphis, the community must clean up the streets to raise the town’s property value.

Cleaning up the streets of Memphis will serve two purposes: raising property value and increasing community involvement, bringing the citizens of Memphis closer together. To begin cleaning up the town, we must start with the abandoned homes. In the past ten years that I have lived in Memphis abandoned homes have tripled, if not quadrupled. Uninhabited homes are not only eye sores and causes for low property value, but dangerous. Rotted floor boards and broken glass can cause injury to anyone that enters an abandoned home. As well as being dangerous, abandoned homes are notorious for crime. Drug users frequently seek out abandoned homes to squat in. Crimes that are often associated with drug use and drugs sales such as burglary, robbery, rape and even murder occur more frequently in these abandoned areas. In order to rid my town of eyesores and danger, the people of Memphis must take the initiative to renovate and sell the uninhabited properties. The first step is to try and locate the owner of the home and give them the opportunity to clean and resell the home. If they do not relinquish ownership or fix their property, then the community should have the right to take action. I believe that the town should create a volunteer group that goes through cleaning and renovating the homes of Memphis. By starting with smaller homes that need exterior renovation, the community can begin to make a difference in the streets. With the new renovations, the homes’ property value will be raised, making them easier to sell.

In addition to raising the property value, the volunteer group will increase community involvement and bring the citizens closer together. As of now, no community group is too terribly large in size. Other than church activities, no other organization or group offers the opportunity for citizens of all ages to work together. By having community members of all ages together to work for the betterment of the town, it should raise the moral of the town while bringing people together. People brought together for one cause is seen today, as those on the East Coast work to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy. Not only have the residents on the coast came together, the nation as a whole has banned together to help. This kind of bonding can be seen on a smaller scale as Memphis rebuilds their deteriorated homes. Another positive aspect of a volunteer cleanup group is that it will teach younger generations the dangers of abandoned homes and how to fix them. Hopefully these children will take what they learn and continue to apply it in the future, fixing this problem long term.

Once the volunteer group’s renovations have been done, the homes will be available to buy. Now that the homes have an increased property value and are appealing in sight, they will hopefully bring in population or buyers that will be willing to upkeep the newly renovated properties. Publicizing the fixed homes will be the responsibility of the volunteer group. These new homes should sell relatively quickly with the right amount of advertising and open houses. Each week the paper could publish a photo of one newly renovated home. As well as advertisement, the group could host open houses for perspective buyers, giving them a chance to scope out the new improvement and giving the group a chance to show off their accomplishments. These open houses will encourage sales, and hopefully will increase membership in the volunteer group. In the past year we have had two doctors from larger cities move into town, and then out of town to build their own home. If homes such as the blue one on Main Street had been renovated at the time, then maybe the doctors would have taken residence there, and continued to live in town. On top of bringing in new home buyers, the people of Memphis will now have nice homes to choose from. Personally, if I were to be living in Memphis ten years from now, I would be delighted to own the blue house on Main and North Street.

Some of the community may argue that a man’s property is his own and should not be messed with by others, but being that the property is in town, community members should have the right to a cleaner place. Most importantly, after the house has been abandoned, that man has physically said that he no longer wants responsibility for that property. If the owner has abandoned his house, whether it is for financial or lifestyle reasons, then he no longer has to deal with his land. Though he is rid of the burden, the town is left with a home that will slowly disintegrate. My plan will give the homeowner a chance to reclaim his land and repair it within a certain time. In the case that the owner does not take responsibility, the house will be given to the town in which it will then be renovated by the volunteer group. As you can see, my solution will cater to both sides of the problem, giving the owner equal opportunity to take back what is his. I do believe that a man’s property is his own, but I also believe that the town does not deserve to be stuck with an eyesore.

In conclusion, the abundance of abandoned homes in Memphis is a problem that must be taken care of. By renovating the uninhabited houses with the use of a volunteer cleanup group, the streets of town will be clean in no time. The dangers and crimes of abandoned homes will no longer be a worry. Once the renovations on the properties are complete, the property value of the town as a whole will be increased, bringing in new buyers. All in all, the community must clean up Memphis’ streets in order to raise the property value and rid of the dilapidated homes. That way in the future every little girl can have her blue house down the street.

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