Blight is jeopardizing the potential beauty of New London and now the city is doing something about it by creating the position of a blight inspector.
Kenyon Haye, of New London, stepped into the role. He's lived in the city for five years; he’s had the job for a month.
“I have a vested interest in doing the job right because I'm improving my home, where I'm gonna live, where I'm gonna raise my family,” Haye said.
Most of his work is done from the sidewalk. Haye has the power of the city’s new blight ordinance behind him. He can hand out violations for things like boarded up windows, faulty banisters or steps, putting trash and furniture on the sidewalks, and holes in the side of homes. Eventually it can lead to fines.
The city also has the power to turn certain cases over to the state prosecutor who could issue a criminal summons that involve heftier fines, according to New London Mayor Michael Passero.
But Haye said initially, he rather take a different approach.
"I rather speak with the property owner and see if we can come to some sort of agreement,” Haye said.
Blight hurts the real estate values and quality of life in city neighborhoods, according to Passero.
“(Some landlords are) just letting the house deteriorate, and they're taking an income out of it, and not putting any of the money back,” Passero said.
Mercedees Bruton lives on Franklin Street. She believes a blight Inspector can help make her neighborhood safer for her kids.
“It would help so that the kids can play. Have better, safer places to play,” she said.
Haye said he gets numerous blight complaints a day. Already he’s issued about 20 citations. He said his plan is to start on the north end of the city and work his way through.