With confidence building in Nacogdoches ISD and Interstate 69 soon to become a reality, now is a good time to think about redevelopment of the city’s neglected neighborhoods, Jay Anderson recently told his fellow city council members.
“Part of it is to get you to think about areas in your own wards that might benefit for this sort of thing, so we can discuss those specifically,” Anderson told the council at a Nov. 19 workshop.
The goal, Anderson said, is a redevelopment model that could be used throughout the city.
“I can’t think of any particular ward that does not have neighborhoods that have been the victim of some neglect that are good possibilities for infill and redevelopment,” he said. “Areas where there are vacant lots that could potentially be developed as new properties, where there are residents and property owners interested and willing to work together."
Anderson said he envisions a program that includes buy-in from property owners and residents. “If we can get residents in various neighborhoods to take ownership of their neighborhoods and promote them for these sorts of things and use resources we have available, I think we can provide what I think is a superior alternative to going out of the city and building new neighborhood after new neighborhood. We have a lot to offer inside the city,” he said.
Getting buy-in from resident property owners may not be so easy in the Southeast Ward, where owners of vacant or neglected properties often live out of town, Councilman Roy Boldon said.
Researching a number of distressed properties in his ward, Boldon said he found only four owners who lived in Nacogdoches.
“The rest of them were out of town,” Boldon said. “Some of them hadn’t paid property taxes in 10, 12, 14 years. That is a struggle to redevelopment some areas, and it’s not because of citizens in Nacogdoches. It’s ownership of someone outside Nacogdoches.”
These are among challenges that Anderson said he hopes to eventually address, he said.
“We have some newer residents and longer term residents who mostly for their primary residence purchased houses and renovated them, and at least a couple of those people have ended up buying nearby properties as an investment,” Anderson said. “That’s what I hope to see some of with redevelopment — people getting very invested in their neighborhoods.”
City Council holds workshops once a month on challenges facing the city. The conversations are for discussion only, and no action may be taken. A period for public comment on topics is provided. Anderson said he hopes to bring the redevelopment topic back up for discussion early next year.