Abandoned properties may soon be site of development - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Abandoned properties may soon be site of development

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -

Downtown development has been a popular topic recently amongst Lake Charles residents and with the current efforts of the Lake Charles North Development Authority, more development could be on its way.

The number of adjudicated properties, lots that nobody is taking care of or paying taxes on,  is increasing rapidly, but the Lake Charles North Development Authority is looking to change that by making use of the now useless properties.

Across the lake area, development is taking place, but some areas haven't been touched.

"We've been laying pretty substantial infrastructure all over the city in anticipation of growth," said city councilman Marshall Simien. "The one thing that we had not dealt with was the private property impasse when their properties go into adjudication for a number of reasons."

Some of these properties fall within his district.

The Lake Charles North Development Authority heard a presentation from Simien about what they can do to deal with these adjudicated properties.

"Right now it's just a patchwork of places that you can't do anything with the property and it actually stymies development," said Simien.

Many of these properties can be seen from the I-10 corridor when passing through Lake Charles, making them a prime development area for the city.

Simien says about 80 percent of these properties are in the northern part of the city.

"We have an interest in getting that off the taxpayers roll and actually putting them in production so they can generate revenues for the city and becomes assets as we grow," said Simien.

Now is the time to take action according to Simien, by using grant funding to wipe title issues away.

"I'd like to move them as soon as possible because I think the economy is about to become very strong again, I'd like to see that area get its fair share of the opportunities," said Simien.

While there's no time table for development, the sooner would always be better.

"I'm hoping that we move pretty fast," said Simien. "We've already done the research and shown that we can use community development block grant funds, which is targeted for those areas anyway to be able to get those properties cleared out. Most of these properties fall in residential areas, but some are classified as commercial."

Simien hopes that once the issues are resolved, local residents and developers will be able to develop these properties as they see fit without having to worry about previous title issues.

Copyright 2012 KPLC. All rights reserved.

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