I want to thank the Mayor and Council members of Opelousas for finally addressing the immense problem downtown Opelousas has had for almost 40 years. By introducing the vacant building ordinance (that was submitted over 4 years ago for review) we may finally see some big changes to downtown Opelousas. I applaud all of those who have tried for years to revitalize Opelousas with little to no resources or legislative support. It seems the City and Parish are finally aligned to save downtown.
When families can no longer afford to maintain or care for buildings that are generational, sometimes it takes the community to help them to find a solution to their blighted properties. I am sure that the various owners did not intend to damage the entire city by neglect, and would love to see the buildings that have been in their families restored and see the city that we all grew up in revitalized.
The blighted buildings downtown have affected well-maintained properties surrounding them and the deterioration of our town center constitutes a threat to the health, safety and public welfare of the citizens of Opelousas. It is important to save the buildings that can be saved and hold everyone accountable to maintain their property. The only way that this can happen is to have new ownership or to use ordinances to force owners to comply with basic maintenance and put them into commerce.
I was shocked 5 years ago after being away from Opelousas for 38 years to see what had become of our downtown. Our community shopped, dined and socialized on the sidewalks when I was younger. I have seen other communities revitalize their blighted downtown area using similar measures. I am sure the entire community would love to see this happen and since it has not happened without government intervention, I support strong legislative measures to force what may be the last chance Opelousas has to save its downtown.