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Locals want to change the law on how to obtain abandoned properties

Says process takes too long to complete
Published: Apr. 28, 2021 at 4:55 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Abandoned properties are found all across Alexandria, but now some residents and local leaders are wanting to change the process it takes to obtain and fix them up.

One property in particular is located right off of one of the busiest areas in the city off North MacArthur Drive. District 1 City Councilman Reddex Washington said the properties look like something from a third world country.

“It is depressing to drive into this city and this is the first thing you see,” said Washington.

Even residents are starting the see the negative effects that these abandoned properties have not only on the neighborhoods but the entire city.

Sandra Augustine is an Alexandria resident and said, “When you come in here from I-49 wanting to stop and dine and this is the first thing you see, it’ll put a bad taste in your mouth. You have citizens that want to make this a better place to live.”

Properties like this aren’t just eye sores, but have also attracted crime and homelessness. Washington said millions of dollars have been spent on maintaining abandoned properties if they catch on fire or have to call the police to the buildings.

“They’ve pulled so many dead bodies out of this property. There have been so many fires on this property. We should not be having to pay for that when there are people in place that want to buy it,” said Washington.

The current law in place requires someone to pay taxes on an abandoned property for three years before they can buy it and claim full ownership.

Washington says the process of obtaining the specific property on N. MacArthur Dr. has taken well over three years now and is looking for lawmakers to step up and make the time limit shorter.

”Something has to happen within our administration to where they have to change it. We have to knock the doors of our legislatures that are out there,” said Washington.

Other cities in Louisiana like Shreveport and New Orleans have made the process shorter and that is what locals are trying to get done in Alexandria.

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