The City of Belvidere is asking for a little give and take. The problem areas may have been around for years and residents may have said something but there wasn't one specific person to keep an eye on the community. Now the city has the manpower and the right tools. It's the City of Murals not the city of cluttered yards and rundown homes. The City of Belvidere has a new emphasis on neighborhood standards.
Belvidere Mayor Fred Brereton says, “The overall goal is to eliminate the obvious blighted areas and the negative properties that we all agree shouldn't exist in the neighborhood."
And it's going to be Kim Ellingsons responsibility along with your help. Ellingson was brought in to assist Mayor Brereton with Neighborhood Development. Ellingson says, “What we get the most calls about is inoperable vehicles, weeds, piled tires, garbage left out for a week."
The City of Belvidere has already been making major changes. Repaving main roads and improving gutters. Now the hope is that all roads get a facelift and residents follow the city's lead.
Mayor Brereton states, "Once we go into a neighborhood to reconstruct streets, gutters and sidewalks the property owners along that street take better care and a greater pride in their homes."
And if they don't the city has the authority to take action. Council members approved a Property Maintenance Code that covers anything from lawn maintenance to the exterior of your home. But until more residents know the rules the city doesn't plan on making neighbors pay. Abandoned vehicles and cars on lawns are both big problems right now in Belvidere. Again the city isn't driving around picking out homes to ticket at this time it's all about making sure residents are informed. This is all tied into an initiative called Smart Growth. It's an effort to preserve Belvidere's historic character.