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We understand that residents of the Murrah Road area in New Albany want the run-down trailer park and motel near their property gone. Frankly, so does most everyone else in the city that we have heard from.
But that is where the agreement ends. The Murrah Road residents group has asked the city to purchase the property. According to city officials, the owners want $710,000 for it and want to retain ownership of the trailers, which they then could move somewhere else outside the city.
We doubt the property itself is worth more than $60,000 to $100,000. In our opinion, to pay more than that would be an irresponsible squandering of city utility money.
We also do not think the administrative offices of the Light, Gas & Water Department should be relocated to the property even if it were free. The utility needs a new office, but it should be somewhere in the downtown core area.
The fact that the trailer park is owned by two city utility employees and a former city police officer on disability further muddies any discussion of the city negotiating to purchase it.
The city and Murrah Road residents should get the focus where it belongs: enacting a strong rental housing ordinance and regulations for trailer parks. And enforcing all of the city’s current codes and regulations. Grandfathering in the trailer park in the 70s does not make it immune to future regulations or standards. Times change and rules change.
We don’t agree that nothing can be done. Lots can be done. Property owners have no right to maintain their property or a business in a way that endangers the health or welfare of other property owners.
Fix it up or close it up. It’s time to play hard ball.