I’d like to start by thanking Danny Henley for his article: “Code Enforcement Staff Taking a Closer Look.” Sadly, Danny’s article only portrays the “tip of the iceberg” illustrating why Hannibal’s valuable Historic core of housing is being “demolished by neglect”! The years I spent on the council were filled with e-mails and conversations about the rampant decay of our residential housing. That’s why I cannot understand anyone being “surprised” at what can be found along even some of our most “maintained” historic streets, where they found 22 violations between 66 properties.
For the record, “targeting” a few blocks or a neighborhood isn’t new. In early 2010, I requested a code enforcement sweep along several blocks of the west side of the 3rd Ward. That was to assist our HPD’s efforts by cleaning-up the “nesting grounds” being inhabited by drug dealers. That effort cleaned up and repaired some neighborhood properties and the statistics show how a coordinated effort reduced crime there.
It’s a shame that level of effort couldn’t be sustained, primarily due to lack of sufficient “manpower.” Add to this the need for stronger, more specific and measurable ordinances and easier methods to serve violation notices to the list of changes our City Government needs to halt the decay. Then we can start bringing our neighborhoods back to a semblance of what our older residents recall….
Finally, if a carpet covered back yard warrants a “letter,” I can show you two gravel-filled backyards even more offensive…..