Downtown ‘eyesores’ under scrutiny

Published 12:48 pm Thursday, August 14, 2014

Pat Floyd shares images of downtown Luverne's "eyesores" with city councilmen at Monday evening's meeting. JOURNAL PHOTO | MONA MOORE

Pat Floyd shares images of downtown Luverne’s “eyesores” with city councilmen at Monday evening’s meeting.

Pat Floyd shared photos of a few of downtown Luverne’s “eyesores” at Monday’s city council meeting, but she said none of the photos were really necessary.

“Go outside and look in any direction and you’ll see something that needs to be done,” said the downtown property owner.

Floyd and several members of the Downtown Merchants Association attended the meeting to present just one request: enforce the codes and ordinances Luverne already has. The group asked the council to enforce regulations regarding “unsightly inoperable vehicles” and property zonings and uses.

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“This is where it becomes your responsibility to take whatever measures necessary,” Floyd told the council. “We want what is best for our city and all it takes is a paintbrush and a little elbow grease.”

She and the DMA asked the council to encourage property owners to clean up; establish and enforce building and maintenance codes; condemn dangerous and hazardous properties; and establish a vacant lot maintenance ordinance on city and private property and enforce it.

Floyd’s photos included stacks of pallets that sit outside Renfroe Pecans, dead bushes on LaGrange Street, awning past hurricanes had ripped away that were never replaced and vacant buildings that were dangerous to area children.

Sherry Prevett, owner of 13 on Fifth, said she had recently run boys off after catching them in a nearby abandoned building.

“One thing that concerns me just a bit is boys riding bikes down to vacant buildings. Any child can be hurt in there,” she said. “We all want to work together for Luverne to be the best place ever.”

Floyd owns 118 South Forrest Avenue, which houses the offices of The Luverne Journal and the Okami Dojo. She challenged anyone to find fault with the business she restored or the 80 acres of land she calls her front yard.

No action was taken concerning the DMA request. After Floyd’s presentation, Mayor Joe Sport reminded the group of the council’s efforts to improve the downtown area, including having the clock fixed and turning a “hole in the wall” into a park where the city displays its Christmas tree every year.

Sport said he was also in the process of refurbishing Luverne’s welcome signs.

The council has gone as far as to condemn property and sell it.

Enforcing codes is not always the answer, said Sport.

“You have to consider the owner and the timeframe it would take to clean it up,” he said. “I have three I’m working with right now.”

Sport said those who did not clean up their property within the agreed upon timeframe would face fines and possible condemnation.

The association asked the council to publish progress reports in The Luverne Journal and to make the city’s codes and ordinances available at City Hall and accessible to anyone.