The fire department is marking the vacant homes in an effort to protect first responders, "when your visibility is cut down, and whether you're crawling or walking through that structure, any little defect in it could cause an injury to our firefighters," explained Mitrano.
Mayor Tom Richards is joining the effort. City Council approved a $9 million dollar bond he proposed to double the number of buildings being torn down over the next three years. That would bring the number of abandoned buildings to about 600, "one of the ways in which we can improve neighborhoods and the quality of life is to remove those buildings where people are up to no good, hanging out, or they catch on fire, or just look bad and unattractive," said Richards.
Richards says the city has too much housing but not enough liveable housing, and the abandoned buildings come down new projects will be in the works, "for instance we added 50 houses in Market View heights this year, so we need to do both," explained Richards, "and I'm glad that council supported me in this because we all agree that it's something we need to make more progress on."
The fire department will get the bulk of the red X's they're posting on the abandoned homes in a few weeks. Tuesday night City Council also confirmed Sam Mitrano as the fire chief.