Freeport Vacant Property Ordinance Passes

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UPDATE (WIFR) -- The Freeport city council passes a new vacant property ordinance at Tuesday's meeting.

The new law gives the city the ability to work with property owners to either come up with a plan to fix the home or commercial building or demolish it. Some alderman say this new law will only help improve the quality of life.

"This city has taken the lead probably more than any city its size in the state of Illinois in demolishing old dangerous buildings that are well past any kind of usable life," said mayor Jim Gitz. "We did this because we believe in the need to improve our community."

Vacant property owners will soon have to register their problem buildings and pay a fee with the idea being they would decide to fix or demolish a vacant property rather than continue to pay a fee with the city.

Fees range from $25 to $275.

FREEPORT (WIFR) -- A big vote tomorrow night in Freeport as the city council considers a new vacant property ordinance that will hold property owners more accountable.

With more than one hundred vacant homes and businesses in Freeport city leaders say they feel they need to take many of them down and they have- roughly 30 to date.

"We don't want any excuses," said Freeport Mayor Jim Gitz. "We want to make it happen."

City leaders may finally take a vote after talking for years about a vacant property ordinance giving them more power to manage these buildings by working with property owners or demolishing the structures altogether.

"The immediate task is to get rid of dangerous abandoned old buildings that have no business being there," said mayor Gitz.

Getting rid of vacant homes is proving to have it's drawbacks for one Freeport woman who says the city should take its own advise when it comes to accountability.

Mandi McGregor says she now has cockroaches crawling all over her home after the city demolished a problem property next door and her claim for compensation from the city was denied.

"There's no one to look after us. There's no one to go to for help that," said McGregor.

"We're always willing to work with people," said mayor Gitz, "What we're not willing to do is pick up everybody's bill on a wing and a prayer."

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