Jacksonville Daily Progress
I would like to respond to those who do not believe the City of Jacksonville should pay to raze the Yum Yum's building downtown. The downtown area should be the centerpiece of any city. If your downtown area looks like a demilitarized zone what does that say about your town's economic viability? What about the city's responsibility to keep property values up? It's bad enough that so many of our older neighborhoods are marred by houses that the slumlords have failed to maintain. These small-town land barons have taken the personal responsibility of putting a 'for sale by owner' sign in front of these hovels. What does that do to help the value of the house next to it? One house can ruin a street. Is that what people want to happen to the downtown area? I am in no way suggesting that the city of Jacksonville demolish every blight on this town. If they wanted to put a lien against Yum's Yum's property to cover the cost of the demolition then I would be in agreement.
All I know is that when someone is unwilling or unable to take personal responsibility for the condition of their property then it is up to the City to do what is best for the community. Letting the majority suffer just to keep one person from benefitting unfairly from the public's money is an impractical, narrow, and destructive way of thinking. The downtown area is not a private neighborhood where we can hide our shameful condition. It should be the jewel of our town, a beacon of commerce. I don't know where my contribution to the Keep Jacksonville Beautiful fund goes, but I would be willing to pay more than $1 if I saw less 'Make Jacksonville Glitter' signs and more bulldozing.
I always loved Paul Harvey’s “The rest of the story” and I have watched with interest the Facebook war over the old Yum Yum’s building downtown and held my tongue. I think it is now time for the rest of the story. As a taxpayer and a citizen of Jacksonville I think it is also time to inject a few facts into the argument.
First, the City Council is not ignoring the issue. Because there may be asbestos in the building it requires a permit and testing from the State of Texas to move any of the rubble. When the city was removing the high walls as a safety hazard they were required to go to Austin to get a permit even though it was a safety hazard. The fines for failing to do so are exorbitant. Do you want your tax dollars to go to fines or would you rather see the property owner or lien holder do what is right and clean up their own property?
As much as I admire and respect the attitude of people who have volunteered to help with the clean up, without the proper permits and even more important, the proper knowledge to deal with a possible asbestos issue the fines would still fall on the city.
The city has already spent over eleven thousand dollars on the safety aspects of this building. A total clean up would cost another sixty or seventy thousand of your tax dollars and the city (you and I) would see nothing for our cost and the person who owns the note or property would have a costly asbestos clean up financed on our back because they didn’t or don’t have insurance. That doesn’t seem like a responsible use of my tax dollars. How about you?
I get weary of hearing the entire doomsday crowd and naysayers talk about our council, our manager and our staff and our city. I suggest that the simplest fix for most problems in Jacksonville is to get the facts because as surprising as it might seem there are people in this world who have their own agenda. My agenda is simply to preserve my tax dollars for things the whole city benefits from and not just a few who might want us to pay for their mistakes.
And the rest of the story is this business had no insurance while it operated and a rather large note at the bank which has subsequently been bought for one dollar. That’s a pretty sweet deal. Buy the note for one dollar, clean up the property on the taxpayer’s dime and then foreclose the note. Good Day!