DuPage County program aims to improve properties
A renewed push by DuPage County to eliminate eyesores in unincorporated areas is off to a good start, officials say.
DuPage's Neighborhood Revitalization Program got a boost at the start of the year when county officials set aside $125,000 to fund it. The county also received a $250,000 grant from the Illinois Housing Development Authority to address neighborhood blight.
"So we went from zero to $375,000 in the matter of a couple months to jump-start the program," said county board member Sam Tornatore, development committee chairman.
As part of the program, DuPage obtains court orders to repair or remove dilapidated or abandoned buildings in unincorporated areas. The county also seeks to remove garbage, debris and hazardous materials from buildings and properties.
The goal is to eliminate eyesores, clean up the local environment and immediately improve neighborhoods.
"You let the property owners know their homes need to be repaired," Tornatore said. "If they don't do it, then we do it and send them a bill."
If a property owner doesn't pay, the county puts a lien on the land to collect the cost of the work upon the sale of the property, Tornatore said.
To date, 10 property owners have brought their properties into full or partial compliance as a result of the program.
Buildings on four of the properties have been demolished. Another building is poised to be razed by the owner.
One abandoned property has been cleaned up and sold. A second abandoned property is expected to be refurbished.
Meanwhile, three properties have been cleared of junk and debris, and more work is planned.
"The neighbors are very happy about it," Tornatore said. "All the feedback that we have received has been positive."
Meanwhile, the revitalization efforts are expected to continue.
"We're going to try to make our residents happy," Tornatore said, "and hope that everyone is living next to a home or a piece of property that's not an eyesore."