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City not cracking down on empty buildings, activists say

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When the Chicago City Council debated a Vacant Building Ordinance, critics worried it could face a constitutional challenge or drive lenders out of troubled areas.

But activists say the real problem is that nothing is being done about abandoned buildings. Action Now members and Humboldt Park residents have scheduled a rally for 6 p.m. today to draw attention to two vacant, unsecured buildings that they say are dangerous for children walking to school.

"it's an example of what is going on in the city," said Aileen Kelleher of Action Now, which has been holding similar rallies throughout the city. Another is scheduled for Thursday in Englewood.

The idea behind a vacant building law is to require financial institutions to secure buildings during the foreclosure process. Industry representatives say that unfairly puts responsibilities on the shoulders of banks even before they have title to the property.

But unsecured vacant buildings can be crime havens. Even putting up boards doesn't necessarily protect the buildings because people kick their way through, so steel panels are needed to secure doors and windows.

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This page contains a single entry by Thomas Frisbie published on September 27, 2011 11:52 AM.

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