Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:44PM - 86 Views
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PDT Staff Writer

The Portsmouth Community Development Office is working on an East End SAFE Project in efforts to target blight in the east end. According to the Broken Windows Theory when a home is vandalized, remains vacant or remains un-kept, neighboring homes will refrain from repairing their home due to the influence of the continuing neglect of the area. The PCDO says this, in turn, devalues nearby properties and presents a negative appeal to the area and potential new residents or businesses.

S.A.F.E. stands for “Secure (instrumental in reducing illicit activity in this area), Assist & Facilitate (existing local businesses, churches and residents), and Encourage future development and home ownership by creating an environment compatible with and more appealing to business and residents.”

The PCDO says the mission of the East End Plan is to reduce blight and improve the quality of the neighborhood by supporting and securing current residents, business owners and churches through more aggressive enforcement of city code violations, demolishing dilapidated residential homes, and assisting with the improvement of dilapidated homes and those in violation of city codes.

According to Broken Windows Theory by reducing blight and improving the appearance of homes the crime rates will be reduced, owners will be more encouraged to continue upkeep on their homes, and housing value will increase as a result of these improvements. The goal of this project is to improve the housing quality of the East End and in doing so reducing crime and generating a higher satisfaction and a safer environment for its residents.

In a news release the PCDO says change does not transpire overnight.

“With this in mind, the City must be supportive of the east end neighborhood now as we work together in eliminating crime, blight, and the sense of abandonment. We cannot focus on growth for the sake of growth with these problems, ignoring the current residents and business owners who continue to struggle. Currently there are approximately 61 businesses located within the East End area. Once pride and well-being is restored the City can then focus on development.”

While no time frame has been established, the committee has set the following as their primary goals:

  • Goal 1: Demolish all vacant dilapidated residential homes.
  • Goal 2: Renovate residential dilapidated homes (those not selected for demolition).
  • Goal 3: Code enforcement.
  • Goal 4: Future development.
  • Goal 5: Industrialization

After the above phases are complete and the East End area is stable the City can then apply focus on potential industrialization to the following streets: Harmon, Young, 8th and 9th.

These streets may likely be modified.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com

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