The Sept. 11 front-page article titled “Oak-Fry property sale in probate review” was painful to read for many reasons. Firstly, stories on condemned property are generally in big cities, not cities small enough to care about unsafe buildings (especially right in the middle of a major university). Secondly, there is always collateral human damage in terms of people losing the roof over their heads, however dangerous and unhealthy the building is.
This particular piece of property should also be a black eye on Denton’s city government because the property was allowed to become so structurally unsafe that it had to be condemned, even with residents living there. The fact that it was on Oak and Fry Street and not tucked into some neighborhood makes it doubly heinous that the city chose to ignore the condition of the property.
All around both universities are dwellings that are not being maintained and are slowly deteriorating. Many cities in the U.S. with colleges and universities have charming, well-maintained neighborhoods. It sends a message to their population, and potential students, that both “town and gown” value their students and their city.
I wonder if the residents in Denton will ever begin to insist that Denton clean up its mismanaged rental properties. So far, City Hall seems happy to ignore the situation by not issuing code violations. Makes one wonder what their endgame is. It sure isn’t the health, safety and well-being of students and those who are not as financially fortunate as they are.