The code word is ‘blight’ - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

The code word is ‘blight’

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Posted: Tuesday, October 2, 2007 9:45 pm | Updated: 7:37 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

It’s almost too bad Mesa didn’t blow its eminent domain currency on Fiesta Village.

Bailey’s Brake Shop may not be the most aesthetically pleasing patch of dust and grease, but at least it’s a functioning business within an area that needs more of them. Mesa could have tried to do something truly worthwhile in the process of becoming the poster child for ill-advised land grabs by trying to stop Fiesta Village’s slide into vacancy and dilapidation at the northwest corner of Southern Avenue and Alma School Road, creating a huge blight on what is otherwise a still-active retail core which has attracted a wealth of redevelopment interest.

But that window has been nailed shut, and so has all communication between the city and Fiesta Village’s owners, David Woodfill reported in Saturday’s Tribune.

So the mall is now a magnet for vandals and dumpers, and besides money, Mesa lacks the power to do anything decisive about it, after its previous decisions forced the court system to spell out the proper municipal role within the free enterprise system. But cities still have their health and property maintenance codes.

Rumors that something will happen at Fiesta Village soon are again swirling, and Mesa can follow up on every violation employees see and residents report, to help convince the owners that redevelopment is in their own best interest, as well as the public’s. It’s also how other cities can try to prevent similar urban disasters.

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