Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ballard's Allegedly Abandoned House Has Owner

A concerned reader urged me to look into the address of Mayor Greg Ballard's speech backdrop today to, as the Indianapolis Star put it, "plead" for the passage of the transfer of the water and sewer utilities from the City of Indianapolis to Citizens Energy Group.

The location from the Mayor's Office for today's proceedings was a supposedly abandoned house at 825 Eugene Street. Turns out, that house is not abandoned: it's just vacant.

A search of Marion County Treasurer Mike Rodman's website shows the burnt out shell of a home that has no roof belongs to Archie Wells, Sr. and is current on its property taxes.

From the website:
Parcel Information
Address: 825 EUGENE ST
Parcel Number: 1042337
Township: CENTER
Current Tax Due: $0.00

Wells also apparently owns the house next door at 819 Eugene. I was able to track down a phone number for an Archie P. Wells, and I have left a message at that number. I will update this posting if I hear back from Mr. Wells.

Let me stress that this is not an indictment of Mr. Wells. I have no idea of the situation behind the current state of the home there at 825 Eugene. All I'm saying here is that the home is owned, and the taxes are current.

Hardly the "abandoned unsalvageable" home promised by the Mayor's Office to the media.

Here are some of the local media takes on the story. Again, as expected, they have picked up the Mayor's story and did not dig any deeper.

WRTV's story is here.

WTHR's story is here.

WIBC's story is here.

Finally, here is the Indianapolis Star's take.


Indy Student said...

Just because the building has an owner doesn't make it less abandoned. The problem with dealing with abandoned buildings is that many of them HAVE owners, often unreachable.

Ballard appointed someone to deal with abandoned properties in 2008 and it went pretty much nowhere, so this doesn't mean I support the initiative. But I'll wait for the details to come in before passing judgement.

Jon E. Easter said...

I think it makes a huge difference! It also brings up a lot of questions which will need to be answered by the owner if he calls me back.

This property is not as advertised by the Mayor in his carefully crafted backdrop. That's the bigger issue.

Indy Student said...

It makes a huge difference in how to handle an abandoned property that has been neglected by it's owner. In this case, at least the owner is an actual person and not a super mega-bank, so is reachable. But the reason it's hard for the city to clean up abandoned properties is because they can't do much than fine the owner and take them to court on the fines rather than the neglect of the property.

Anyway, I think I might be a bit off-topic. I haven't had time to read the Ballard media blitz from today, and maybe he did misrepresent it. But he says it's an abandoned property, and it is. Lots of abandoned properties have owners. That isn't news.