City Officials Talk Blight in Duluth

Posted at: 11/28/2012 7:20 PM
Updated at: 11/28/2012 7:28 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

Duluth city officials talked with West Duluth residents and business owners Wednesday to discuss blight in the city.

"Unless the public calls in, telling us about blighted property, we don't ride the streets looking for them," Lead Housing Inspector for the City of Duluth Jim Mlodozyniec said.

The officials asked for help from the public to report blight. The city monitors approximately 200 blighted properties. Officials said that's not a bad number considering there are some 25,000 dwellings in Duluth. But Karen O'Donnell is the Solid Waste Compliance Officer for Duluth and said taking care of blight is a priority.

"It just makes a difference in keeping the city clean," said O'Donnell. "It's kind of the broken window theory. If things fall apart it just seems like it continues. And by taking a proactive approach, we end up with a nice, clean city."

O'Donnell described blight as things like household garbage, tires, construction debris, hazardous materials, and abandoned cars. Mlodozyniec added that there are varying degrees of blight. A yard can be blighted with junk, but the structure itself can be blighted as well.

"It hurts the neighbors on property taxes," said Mlodozyniec. "It devalues their homes with that blighted property in the neighborhood. It's also a point of possible crime."