Great Bend officials crack down on rundown homes

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GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) — Sagging roofs, holes in the porches, open crawl spaces — city officials considered four homes along 16th Street unsafe and dangerous.

Back in September, they gave the owner 90 days to fix the houses or they’d end up demolished.

Ida Luse’s 90 days are up, and the city said her homes are much improved.

“They needed repair before, but I’m overjoyed with the results,” said Luse. “I’m so happy at the way they look now.”

Luse is one of around 50 housing success stories for the city.

Stuart Baker, the city’s code enforcement officer, said there have been many owners that fix their houses up to bring them into compliance.

He added: “Or a lot of times, they live out of town…don’t have resources, so they end up selling them and the new owners will bring them into compliance.”

City officials said they just want owners to take responsibility for their property.

“Not only is it good for the homeowner to take responsibility, but also for the neighborhood too,” said Bake. “It makes the neighborhood look good, it makes people appreciate their properties.”

In the past two years, Baker tells KSN around 20 houses have been demolished because owners didn’t repair the property — and the cost to demolish it often falls on the city.

Baker said it can cost around $8,000 for an average home. The owner then receives that bill, but if there is no payment, the city tries to get that money back through property taxes.

After talking with officials, KSN’s Amanda Aguilar learned many of the houses not in compliance with building codes are reported by community members. City officials encourage people to continue to report rundown houses — saying they can’t be everywhere, but making Great Bend look great is important to them.