Metropolis: dilapidated homes a growing problem

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Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Barry Stevenson

METROPOLIS, IL- Out on the job Tuesday, John Merriweather visits several homes.

The abatement officer finds broken windows, overgrown grass, and a 'no trespassing' sign posted by people he cannot find.

"Some people are hard to find, so we just do the best we can," he admitted.

More and more homes, he says, have simply been abandoned, "The jobs went belly up and people have lost jobs and its made it hard for them to continue to own their own homes.

Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel met with Merriweather and other officials Tuesday to discuss the problem. He says the city has always had abatement problems. But he admits it has only gotten worse. He blames the economy.

"Within a month, we'll have anywhere from 25-50 grass abatements from abandoned real estate," he said.

But he promised that grass will be cut and the city will be cleaned up saying, "We're working hard on it."

At the meeting several suggestions were heard. The city wants to work to have more banks sign over seized properties to them so the city can fast track demolitions.

Another suggestion heard was to work with charities so banks could sign those properties over to them. There was also talk of applying for grant dollars so people could receive help to clean up their properties.

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