As a long-term citizen and local business person, I am so discouraged and appalled by the blatant disrespect of private property in our city and county; not to mention illegal trash dumping on public or rural property. Just drive the unimproved portion of Bank Street one day. It is horrific. Please take some time and take other officials with you and drive some of the areas of notoriety so you can see it first-hand.
The reason I say notoriety is so often I am contacted by prospective buyers looking for affordable housing. They can be from as far away as Florida, and they will say to me, "anywhere but Butler or Birdland!" I am surprised and I ask why they say that. They tell me they have a relative or friend who tells them that these are "bad" neighborhoods. This is sad, as there are also many lovely properties and many law-abiding citizens living in these neighborhoods. They are hurt terribly by these stigmas put on their neighborhood by "people in the know."
Maybe this happens in large cities like Chicago, New York or Los Angeles, but Kingman should not have a "ghetto" area. We are still a small town, and something needs to be done about it before we get big.
There are so many horrible places that are fire hazards and very likely meth houses infested with vermin - including the human type. They are unchanged or getting worse and worse as years go by and nothing is done about them by the county, the fire marshal or the state.
As a real estate agent, when I drive prospective buyers around it is downright embarrassing when they ask me why cleaning up these properties is not enforced. I am unable to answer. I feel that as a real estate agent I am an ambassador to folks who want to relocate here, and I am a witness to their disgust.
I love my hometown and my county, and it is so sad to see these areas. Yes, we are getting many new homes and other growth, and it is exciting, but the condition of the older areas needs to be cleaned up, condemned or dealt with in whatever manner is appropriate.
Many of these properties are abandoned and dangerous to children who might play in or around them, or they may be used by homeless persons seeking shelter. They need to be demolished and the lots cleared.
I know that property owners have the right to use their property as they wish, but that is within the law. The neighboring property owners also have rights, and their rights are violated by the lack of action not taken by the government. So how do we get this problem solved?
I have had listings in Bullhead City, and they don't mess around. You are notified to clean up your property, and in very short time, if you have not, they come over with their equipment and do it for you. They place a lien on your property that covers the cost of the cleanup. If the county and the city applied that to our area, there is no doubt that it would pay for itself. The properties, if not redeemed, could be condemned and auctioned off to the highest bidder with the opening bid covering the cost of the labor and equipment that was used to clean it up. Then the county would make a profit, as most of the bids or sales would be more than this amount.
I would be happy to volunteer, and I am sure many of my associates would also, to drive the areas and report the violating addresses. I also would volunteer to organize a volunteer task force to assist county or city employees with the cleanup as long as we have legal access to the property, equipment and hazardous waste protective gear if needed. However, I believe most of these offending properties need bulldozing, loaders and dump trucks to accomplish this.
For those citizens that want to cleanup but can't afford it, make it easier for them to have their trash and debris hauled away voluntarily by having the flatbeds and truck collection sites more often and in more places. Or allow them to set up appointments for cleanup.
There has to be a better way. There is a house located at 3870 Northfield. It is a beautiful, immaculate property into which the owners have put so much money and love, and across the street is the No. 1 complaint from prospective buyers as to the reason it has not sold. As the agent of this seller, I believe their rights as citizens are being violated by the inaction of the property owner and the enforcement agencies in cleaning up the neighboring property after repeated requests by the neighbors.
Back in the late 1970s and early '80s, I worked for a contract mail carrier in North Kingman and it was not like this. Slowly it has been taken over by trash and drugs everywhere. I believe if there were more concern, this deterioration could be reversed. But you, the officials, need to lead the way and take control. The rest will follow.