“We’re on a witch hunt for the slum lords,” Mayor Johnny Baker said Monday during the monthly City Council meeting. “I have committed myself to better housing in Rossville.
The city recently condemned two properties that had fallen into disrepair, and the Better Housing Authority is on the lookout for houses heading down the wrong path, Baker said, adding he wants to help people clean up their properties.
The residents at 113 Beech St. have until July 22 to vacate the premises, and the owner of an-other house at the intersection of East Lake Avenue and Leinbach Road and another on Beech Street turned the property over to the city.
Two business properties on Chickamauga Avenue were recently donated to the city and will cost about $13,000 to demolish and make the property usable, he said.
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The council wants to revive the dormant Downtown Development Authority to manage and market those properties after they are cleaned up. The authority is led by Rossville Bank president Charles Lusk.
“The council has no desire or need to be in the property business,” Baker said.
The council also conducted the first reading of an ordinance to establish a Historic District Preservation Commission, which would determine which parts of the city should earn the distinction of being historic.
Baker said he wants to raise the housing standards in the older parts of Rossville and designate them as historic to maintain that high standard. Historic districts may also be eligible for grants to enhance the community.
“I think this is the first step in a long line of improvements,” Councilman Ted Harris said.
The council also decided Monday to apply for a $15,000 grant to fund structural and roofing renovations at the John Ross House