Two South Loop aldermen introduced legislation to address the growing problem of vacant foreclosed properties, although the advocacy group Action Now supports one while being skeptical of the other. The Chicago Journal reported on October 12, 2011, that while Action Now said the revised version of vacant building legislation from Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) “might not be worth doing,” the group does “unequivocally support” an ordinance from Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward).
According to the Journal, Dowell’s “new ordinance overly restricts the definition of what properties are considered vacant,” Action Now says. The original version of Dowell’s measure sought to make mortgage servicers holding a property after foreclosure secure and maintain that building unanimously passed the City Council on July 28. Action Now, however, contends that when the banks persuaded Dowell and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to revise the legislation, the advocacy group was not part of the negotiations. The updated legislation, they say, expands the definition of what properties are not vacant.
Fioretti’s “more modest ordinance,” co-sponsored by Deborah Graham (29th), would make mortgage servicers or whoever else legally holds a vacant property deploy watchmen at abandoned buildings that are within 1,000 feet of schools, according to the Journal. The bank or institution owning the vacant property would pay for the watchmen, Fioretti told the Journal. The alderman also proposed a different ordinance that would set up credit unions in tax increment financing districts, to pool unused TIF money toward the rehabilitation of foreclosed properties.
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