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Plywood: board-up risky
handily conceal those up to no good who have broken in.
It’s one of the ironies that the city boards up houses to, what was it, ‘protect them.’ The irony, of course, is this simple building material, rather than deterring thieves, might as well be a neon sign that flashes: “Nobody home! Steal My Plumbing! Trash Me!”
Board-ups are simple and allow city governments to avoid dealing with unoccupied or abandoned housing. Board-ups are no substitute for enlightened policies and procedures on what to do with abandoned homes. Many cities have found the most permanent and cost-effective approach is to sell them for a token amount (say a dollar) to qualified buyers. Then with
help getting the buyer a loan to make a house livable, the house can be occupied quickly.
Cheap plywood has become the substitute for this kind of enlightened local government policy. A sensible plan is aimed at protecting a town’s tax base, keeping down the spread of crime, attracting people who will stay in town, and seeks to make the town a place that draws new productive residents.
After WW II, Berlin had thousands of damaged buildings. Less than a decade later, thoughtful policies, the hard work of German citizens, intelligent financing and clear plan- ning changed Berlin into a showplace of the west.
Kankakee can do the same – it just shouldn’t be to go for the plywood and nails.