Many Reasons to Keep Up Neighborhoods
by
Commissioner Tommy Adkisson
July 9, 2009

Bexar County depends on property taxes for 72% of its annual revenue. And strong values from a strong economy have lent strength to the value of our local real estate market generally. What many of us may not realize is that allowing neighborhoods to decline, whether our own or others eats away at our local tax base.

More importantly, declining neighborhoods are a source of ongoing concern to neighbors in terms of safety, how they look and generally, the pride of the neighbors. That's why I have spent so much time being a part of my own neighborhood.

Recently a couple in the unincorporated northeast Bexar County area that had fallen victim to urban decay, purchased a number of the homes in the area and repaired them for rental possibilities. Vagrants and drug users had taken over some of the homes that were burned out or simply vacant. This dynamic couple didn't just come in and do the minimum amount of work to get the houses back up on the market.

This couple established a long term vision at the outset with a master plan for the homes. They waded right in withstanding pressure from the criminal element in the area. They established a firm commitment from numerous owners on the street and a strong relationship with Lowes for the benefit of all their fellow homeowners. They also developed cooperative assistance with the Bexar County Sheriff's Office and County officials.

But they didn't stop there. Street lights have been returned to serviceable condition. The street has been cleared of all debris. Banks have gained control of properties and been able to place them back on the market. Vacant structures are boarded and secured. Public utilities are able to service the area again. With the help of the County, about 600 yards of trash and debris have been removed from the area. All but one home has been sold to new owners. All work is 100% financed by owners!

The owners may build a "pocket park" into the neighborhood as well as a laundromat for residents. They are developing home owner association rules and regulations for residents. They intend to develop gated community standards and implement them. There will be an onsite leasing office.

Now here is where the taxpayers of Bexar County win: many of these homes not only represented a hugely blighted condition in the larger neighborhood, they originally sold for nearly $200,000.00, were valued recently for around $50,000.00 but presently are valued at around $150,000.00 after the rehabilitation! The neighborhood looks great and the homes from a tax standpoint are beginning to pull their weight!

I am proud to have been a small part of the dream of this couple who will have done much for our County and community as they continue this neighborhood's redevelopment!

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