Posted: Nov 11, 2012 7:26 PM by Katy Harris KXLF News
Updated: Nov 12, 2012 10:18 AM
BUTTE - Getting private properties in Butte back on the tax roll is the goal of URA Community Enrichment Director Karen Byrnes.
This year, the Council of Commissioners set up their budget to fund a vacant building inventory.
Commissioners and the Urban Revitalization Agency are currently developing a plan to complete this inventory.
Items that are being looked at are status of tax payments, ownership and the overall condition of the building.
The number of vacant buildings has declined in Butte Silver Bow over the years.
"I would say that we're seeing much less. Things are very much going in a positive direction for us. I think that we've seen some very high profile buildings in the last few years that were vacant, turned around. To me that's a positive sign," adds Byrnes.
A large part of that turn around is because of local government working with property owners.
The Metals Bank and Sears buildings are both good examples of vacant buildings that were turned around and are now occupied.
The vacant building at 75 Park Street could be turned into a multi-use building, once the market improves. The co-owner bought the building because of the the cities drive to keep properties in good condition.
"I think Butte is now entering, if not already arrived at the cutting edge of really understanding the marriage between development and business and you know the healthy aspect of growth," says Michael Libster, co-owner of 75 Park Street.
Byrnes says the 75 Park Street building is a good example of a vacant building. Libster is paid up on taxes and is taking care of the building by installing a new roof and boarding up windows.
Vacant buildings become troublesome for the city once the property owners let a building go.
Byrnes says, "We don't want to get them to the point where their roofs are failing and things are going wrong with them and then that becomes an even greater liability for whoever takes them on."
The vacant building inventory and community enrichment program will help prevent vacant buildings from going into disrepair.
The Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners has recently funded 200-thousand dollars into the Historic Preservation Office. That money will go towards salvaging private property.