Fort Myers works to clean up blight through code enforcement initiatives

Vacant lots and condemned homes are a common sight in the City of Palms, but there are plans to fix it up.

“It wasn’t like that at first but its getting to be we find more and more vacant homes, and vandalism,” said Fort Myers resident Glenn Ford.

The City of Fort Myers released recommendations to clean up the neighborhoods by tearing down structures, as well as through code enforcement initiatives.

“Some areas are a lot more neglected than others,” said Fort Myers resident Shana Limbaugh. “There are areas that could definitely use cleaning up.”

The City of Fort Myers said it lost money it previously collected through safety and sanitary violations. The program specializing in collections and foreclosures was suspended in 2009.

“Property values don’t increase and that’s an issue,” Ford said.

Ford, originally from New York City, expressed concerns saying, “one of the reasons we did come out here was to get away from that kind of environment.”

Nearly 900 structures have unpaid fines, considered unsafe and were recommended for demolition, according to research from the city’s code enforcement program.

While some praise the efforts of the city, others, like Limbaugh, said there should be additional measures taken before demolition.

“If you need to clean up the area, how about lets get some lights in some of these areas that don’t have lights,” Limbaugh said. “If you’re trying to drive out the crime and raise property values, there’s other things besides condemning homes.”

The City of Fort Myers is pursuing overgrown lots and old business signs that are falling apart in an effort to enforce regulations as some properties have multiple code violations.

Reporter:Taylor Bisacky