Sunday, August 15, 1999

Owner fights blight label

City trying to revamp area

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        SPRINGDALE — A Florida man is asking a Hamilton County judge to determine whether his Springdale property can be officially classified as “blighted” by city leaders.

        Sam Burns, 77, of Port Charlotte, Fla., owns five properties — two residences and three businesses — and is fighting Springdale's bid to buy them as part of the city's urban-renewal plan.

Many blocks targeted
        Opposing sides will appear before Hamilton County Judge Mark Schweikert at 1:30 p.m. Monday.

        Located near Ohio 4 and Kemper Road, the properties are part of a multiblock area that has been targeted for revitalization. It includes Springfield Pike from Orange Street to West Kemper Avenue, along with Walnut and Pear streets. The city began looking at remaking the area in 1997.

        If the properties are considered blighted, the city can buy them.

        Despite the city's offers to purchase the properties, Mr. Burns has refused to sell, saying the city's offers are less than the property is worth.

        He adds that he does not want to sell because he fears that several of his tenants will have difficulty finding other places to live.

Question of condition
        Springdale Law Director Ken Schneider said Friday that the city has offered to pay Mr. Burns the fair market valuefor the five properties.

        “The structures are blighted,” Mr. Schneider said of the properties in the 300 block of West Kemper and the 11600 block of Walnut. “The conditions need upgrading and the structures are deteriorating.

        “We've negotiated extensively, but we have not been able to reach an agreement,” he said.

        “I don't think they should be allowed to take my property,” Mr. Burns said. “I just want them to step aside and let me manage my property.”


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