Today, the city of Roanoke is once again auctioning off properties on which there are unpaid local real estate taxes, assessments for weed and trash abatement, and demolition or board up costs. They do this once or twice a year. More than 30 properties are on the auction block this time, a number of which are vacant lots.
You can see the list on the city’s department of billings and collections website, and there are photos on the Woltz and Associates site.
But I wondered where they were, so I tossed the list onto a map:
No surprises here, really. It’s the more depressed parts of town where the pinpoints fall. But part of the story might be in where there aren’t any pinpoints.
As Roanoke blogger and neighborhood activist Chris Muse points out, the presence of delinquent properties “a fairly good sign of the progression or regression of a neighborhood.”
Chris is rightly proud that there’s a single delinquent property on the list this time in his part of Old Southwest. I know that property, and while I haven’t asked Chris, I wonder if some aren’t glad to see that vacant property seeing some action and the potential for a new owner to make it a credit to the neighborhood, and not a blight on it.
That, after all, is what the city says it’s up to with these tax sales. It might be a bad sign when your neighborhood is host to landowners who can’t or won’t pay their taxes or maintain their properties. But everytime one of those properties is turned over to a new owners, it’s a new chance for the land, the house, and the neighborhood.