To the editor:
The June 12 editorial, "Too little, too late'" defines the problem of "demolition by neglect'" but offers no solution. The cause of the neglect is the many slumlords that have been in operation since I was at Kansas University in the late '70s. The solution is to go after the current slumlords and demand minimum maintenance of their older, and often historic, properties - things like roof replacement, painting, guttering, foundation maintenance, etc. The city should refuse to register their property as a leasable home until they have met the standard and paid their delinquent taxes. Otherwise, we will continue to have examples like 1232 La., with no option other than demolition.
The good news is that many property investors and homeowners in the historic districts of Lawrence are making great progress in restoring their neighborhoods, one house at a time. On Louisiana Street from Sixth to 10th, there are four major renovations under way. On the 800 block of Ohio Street there are recent examples of appropriate "infill" housing. There have also been many recent restorations of homes in Oread. Many of these homes have been plucked from the hands of slumlords by citizens that care enough to invest in their community.
As I walk through Old West Lawrence and Oread, I believe it is in better shape today than it was 30 years ago. However, the city could and should do more to help those of us willing to invest our time and money restoring homes in Lawrence.