'Pushing on the accelerator:' Fairbury removing old housing in hopes of new development
FAIRBURY, NE — In Fairbury, it’s out with the old and in with the new.
"We've really pushed on the accelerator to get some of those houses down and make sure those properties are being managed appropriately," Fairbury Mayor Spencer Brown said.
Brown says tearing down old dilapidated houses in town is a priority of his. The goal is to make those properties ready for redevelopment.
"We have a housing problem," he said. "We need housing. Everything from low income all the way up. I think with some of these properties, they're in good areas, the housing around them has been well taken care of, so I think it's going to be good for a developer or developers to come into town."
Not only is it needed just to build new housing, but to remove unsightly properties in town.
"I see that as something as when you drive through town, no one wants to come from the outside and see holes in roofs, broken out windows, you know, houses that are almost imploding in," Brown said.
Brown says the city has tripled the project's budget to tear down the old housing and praised city crews efficiency in getting the job done. He says the number of houses coming down increases weekly.
"I couldn't give you an accurate count, but as you drive around town and you see a lot of open space, that's for a reason," he said.
Now with several open lots in town, the focus becomes getting developers or residents to take over the lots, through mow-to-own programs or selling the lots.
A mow-to-own program is where the city comes to an agreement with someone, in which if the person maintains the property (through mowing, weeding, etc) for a certain amount of time, the property becomes theirs.
Brown says Beatrice has a mow-to-own program in place. Fairbury is looking to enact something similar.