Elissa Yount: The Rest of the Story

Can the City proceed to correct the wrongs in the Flint Hill area when two elected officials are invested in the neighborhood and have not addressed the problems?  Do they want the eyes of the city and state turned on this area? 

Mike Inscoe’s company is invested in 13 houses and other lots in the Flint Hill Area on Hillside, Marshall, Booth, Champion and Chavasse. His company is listed as Hamlett Investments LLC with the Secretary of State and the 2012 tax records of these properties can be obtained on line at the Vance County Tax site. The account number is 9108819.

Brenda Peace Jenkins is pastor of the Greater Little Zion Holiness which owns property in this area. They are listed on the 2012 tax books as owning 15 properties on Booth, Hillside, and Flint Streets as well as some lots. The account number is 23805.

The public needs to know that two people who are invested in properties in the Flint Hill area are sitting on Henderson’s Council- the same council that is going to decide what to ask for in the $500,000 grant.

The question must be answered—“What is the greater need in Henderson- tearing down the many dilapidated houses that destroy property values and bring crime and blight to our neighborhoods—houses that are so deteriorated that the house would not be worth the cost of repairs  OR more rental properties for Henderson?”

This should be a no-brainer. For years blight and decay have taken over neighborhoods in Henderson especially in South Henderson, North Henderson, and in the Flint Hill area.

The city has identified 24 abandoned structures just in the Flint Hill area alone that need to be demolished. The cost is estimated to be $5000 to remove one structure. At the Information Meeting at City Hall on Monday, it took a lot of questions to make it clear that demolition costs can be paid with the $500,000 capacity grant that the city seeks. It took even more questions to determine that houses that are not worth repairing cannot be fixed with this money, and neither can landlords use the money to repair properties.

A list of the 24 properties with the names of their owners was presented. (One of these properties belonged to Greater Little Zion Holiness.) In the best of all worlds, these owners would take care of removing this blight and keeping all rental property at minimum standards. But it is obvious that this is not going to happen. The next best thing is for the city to take action. A vacant lot is much better than a lot with a crumbling structure full of mold, rot, filth, lead paint, asbestos, vermin, and decay. These properties are not just eyesores. They are real dangers to livability and community sustainability and anyone who lives in a neighborhood with dilapidated houses knows that is true whether you own your home or rent.

It is a fact that the city has not had the money to budget for demolition of all the houses that are causing blight in our city. It is also a fact that the city has not taken the steps to clean and clear our creeks and correct drainage problems. Both of these are huge problems in Flint Hill. In the past the excuse was that the city could not go on private land, but the law states that it can be done to provide safety and it needs to be done.  

The swampy areas need to be cleaned of debris and pollutants and weeds. This can be done and still leave a riparian barrier and it would go a long way in ridding the neighborhood of the infestation of the rats and nutrias and mosquitoes.

This capacity grant could easily provide the money!

So, why would  the city not breathe a sigh of relief that there is finally a chance to get money to do what has needed to be done for so long and help the people in Flint Hill? And why would the city not put demolishing dilapidated and deteriorated houses and cleaning the area around them the first and ONLY priority for this grant?

Would that cause a problem for those who own other houses in that neighborhood?  Would cleaning up the area shine a light on what has been hidden and force other livability standards? Would the city find that there are inhabited houses that are not fit to be lived in? Why would the city not be motivated to jump up and down for this money to help the residents of Flint Hill?

Remember, two people who are invested in properties in the Flint Hill area are sitting on Henderson’s Council- the same council that is going to decide what to ask for in the $500,000 grant so we will wait and see if the great need in Flint Hill is addressed.