Springfield: Blue Bird Grabs Attention
An apartment complex is on Springfield's watch list. The Lake Victoria Complexes, also referred to as the Blue Bird, is grabbing attention.
Fifteen out of 20 buildings at the Blue Bird are boarded up and empty. Copper wiring is stripped from units with no occupancy and doors are red tagged with spray paint.
It's frustrating for tenants who want better for the area.
"I think it makes the neighborhood look bad with just those vacant buildings sitting there," Tara Hodge said. "There just all shot up."
The properties are split among three owners -- who are not being cooperative with the city.
"We're going to insist that the owners abide by the codes of the city and we're going to continue to bring pressure to those who don't," Executive Assistant to the Mayor Willis Logan said.
During inspections, conditions of some units were deemed unsafe. Tenants had to move out.
"A lot of the floors were flimsy, looked like to me they were ready to fall in on some parts of the building," Logan said.
Surrounding neighborhoods voice concerns of crime and property values going down.
During the State of the City, Mayor Mike Houston pointed out strides have been made.
"We must eliminate blight in our neighborhood," Houston said.
Over a two-year period, 754 properties have been registered as boarded-up buildings. Last year, 25 dangerous and unsafe properties were brought to the ground.
Some people who live at the Blue Bird feel it's a good place to live.
"It's gotten real quiet over the years and I don't understand why this area is still getting a bad name on it," Lawrence Bramlett said.
Especially since problems have been cleared out.
"I think they just rented it out to whomever had the money and this was the problem--madness," Bramlett said.
One hope is to see the units redeveloped for student housing, because of the property's close proximity to both UIS and Lincoln Land Community College.