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Fines not way to go

One of the loveliest views in Lawrence County is if you drive down Rockwood Avenue in Chesapeake and look over to the Ohio River to the Huntington riverfront and skyline. It is beautiful and refreshing.

Sadly, if you look to the hillside, you see dirty, dilapidated and abandoned frame houses that look as if they haven’t been tended to in months or years.

Eyesores like these are the focus of a newly passed ordinance by the Chesapeake Village Council. That ordinance will set up a vacant building registry for structures abandoned for more than 60 days. The ordinance will also allow the village to make repairs to uninhabited structures and then bill the property owner.

The village should be saluted for taking first steps to cleaning up the parts of the village that need help.

However, council shouldn’t expect many of these property owners to be able to afford to reimburse the village. If they could, they probably would be keeping their property up. Granted, some of these properties are hard to look at, but they are still someone’s property.

For those property owners willing to cooperate with the village, council should refer these property owners to agencies like the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization for help with their repairs and other upkeep.

Revitalizing the community should be the No. 1 goal, not sacking people with fines.