To the editor:
The controversial properties on Ohio Street acquired by the university seem to be a "cause" for some. It is "truth check" time, folks.
The talk about preservation is just that. Last year, three properties were for sale within 300 feet of my house. One never sold, the other two sold to out-of-town buyers. Of those two, one is owner-occupied and the other is being rented after being extensively rehabbed. All three properties are one block north of the controversial properties. Not one house was bought by the preservationists or anyone in the city of Lawrence.
I read Sept. 28, about these houses on Ohio and that there were offers to buy them from the former owners. I find it hard to believe that owners would sell for one third-less than the county's appraisal. Do the math. The president of the Preservation Alliance stated that $400,000 was offered for seven houses. That is approximately $57,142 per property. Folks, someone is fibbing. If that is the county's valuation, then the county appraiser has some explaining to do and readjusting. In fact, I have checked my figures for the past two years; there were no houses in the 1100, 1200 or 1300 block of Ohio valued at $57,142.
The amount of money to renovate these is horrendous, unless of course, the approach is used that the president of the Oread group used for his home: Tap into public monies. Even the doctor in spite of himself didn't have deep enough pockets.
Preservationists? Are these the same preservationists that want to jackhammer out the steps in Oread at the 12th street cul de sac? Tear out three sets to replace one? Your city commissioners awarded $32,000 for that project! Shame on them!
This talk about professors living in them. Well, I could not have had a better neighbor, but my professor neighbor's house was one of the worst maintained while he lived in it. Upon his death it passed to another supporter of the "cause," and neither she nor her husband restored it. They sold and took the money.
So, are they preservationists or hypocrites and fibbers?