Thursday, September 9, 2021

Sumpter blight control program proves successful

Eric Luke
A new program of blight control in Sumpter Township resulted in a pleasant surprise for Director of Public Safety Eric Luke.

Luke told members of the Township Board of Trustees during a meeting last month that the level of cooperation with the program was exceptional.

“This has been very successful,” he told the trustees. “I was surprised.  We are getting a good reaction and feedback from those who need to make changes to structures in the township.” 

Luke explained that in February, several of the township departments formed a new committee to “get rid of some hurdles we were facing with blight enforcement.” He said that with several departments in the township cooperating and providing input, the enforcement process was much more effective and streamlined.

Luke told the board members that he would be providing a complete report of the status of blight enforcement actions at the first board meeting of the month but that he wanted to introduce the new procedures before that procedure started.

He said he would not be providing names and addresses of individual properties in an effort to protect the privacy of individuals but would notify the board of the status of enforcement at various sites.

“Those involved understand we have a common goal, to clean up the township,” he said. “It took us coming together, bringing people in from all the departments, and having everybody involved and accountable for their portion of the enforcement,” he said. “If things do not get done, people are called out by the other members of the committee.”

“It's not my baby, but I am very proud of it. The members of the committee should be commended,” he said.

He said that the reaction from those being cautioned or cited regarding blighted buildings needing repairs has also been almost completely positive.

“In one case, we had the building come down the next day,” he said.

“This is a daunting task but we are chipping away at it and as it continues, there will be fewer and fewer blighted sites and more and more cooperation,” he said.