LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Community leaders are calling for action to address the growing number of abandoned houses in neighborhoods south of Interstate 630.
"It's just very frustrating to see this because it's an eyesore," said Stop The Violence Coordinator Reverend Benny Johnson. "It just burdens my heart when I see the mayor breaking ground on Robinson Center renovations which I don't have a problem with but our black neighborhoods need revitalization too." There are more than one hundred abandoned homes within a 20 block radius around Central High School in Little Rock. Johnson is reaching out to city board members in hopes that something will be done to address the growing number of empty homes.
"One thing I've recognized is that crime is strongest where sense of community is weakest," board member Ken Richardson told THV. "We say we want Little Rock to be the next great southern city, aesthetically you don't want anyone to see this."
Richardson says the city needs to step up enforcement of neglectful homeowners and offer more incentives for new homebuyers in the neighborhood. "It's not anything we want our young people to grow up and feel like this is part of their city," Richardson said. "We need to identify folks who are renters and maybe provide incentives to become homeowners."