NEW LONDON, Conn. (WTNH) — New London is hoping to clean up its neighborhoods, one blighted property at a time.
“I’ve been here this property at least two or three times,” says Kenyon Haye, New London’s new blight officer.
He is able to fine violators of the city’s blight ordinance which has been on the books for about a year and bring criminal charges against them but he rather reason with them first.
“I prefer to talk to you get to know you rather than be just the bad guy that’s banging on your door with a note to serve you,” says Haye.
News8 visited two abandoned properties last year and today they are still boarded up and in bad condition. The hope is Haye will change that.
“I have a vested interest in doing this job properly because it’s where I live,” says Haye.
He says one home on Blinman Street has been a problem for a while. It sits among several other houses rehabbed by City Flats.
“We have worked on seven buildings so far and we have three more in the works,” says developer Tony Sylvestre. He is improving the downtown neighborhood one home at a time.
“The people that are investing in their properties are making their properties they deserve to have the support of the city,” says Mayor Michael Passero.
He says cleaning up blight raises property values and spurs economic development.
The challenge for Haye is educating owners on what is the city’s responsibility versus what is theirs.
“If someone puts a couch on the front yard and they say well the city’s supposed to take care of that,” says Haye. “No. Some of them just don’t know that.”