Sikeston may soon get some relief and some help on the housing front. Officials here met Friday morning with a representative of a large national bank who holds loan titles to perhaps as many as 50 condemned houses in our community.
There's really no need to stomp around the history of this issue, but, simply by way of background, here it goes.
For starters, we in Sikeston were negligent on monitoring problem properties over the years. Most of the problems were not in "our" neighborhoods and thus, we neglected to pay attention.
That is simply a fact.
Then came the mortgage crisis and Sikeston became "scam central" for two crooks and their accomplices who made big promises, pocketed a huge amount of money and then left us with empty, sub-standard houses.
The crooks are in jail, but the problem remains here.
Since this issue first surfaced, the city has demolished over 300 properties that could not pass any superficial code inspection. But there remains at a minimum 180 or so properties that still need to be removed.
The central issue has been the inability to gain clear title and control of these properties which would pave the way for their removal.
Through the mortgage scheme, the home loans were sold from one company to another and then again and again.
Now we find ourselves wanting to remove these properties but lacking the ability to find out the clear title path.
The national banker who was here Friday gave assurance of their cooperation on helping in this process.
What remains unanswered is the funding needed to remove these properties once the title snafu is resolved.
But that is clearly another subject for another day.
Here's all that we can hope for.
We can work to bring cooperation from the lenders who hold the titles and then work with the owners of record to convey these condemned properties to the city. Then we can work on funding to remove these properties and return our community to one that is presentable and safe for the neighbors and the remainder of the community.
We're not there yet. But we're heading in the right direction.