South Bend Common Council discusses vacant homes, fire station - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend Common Council discusses vacant homes, fire station

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A busy night at The South Bend Common Council, Monday

Council members had a packed agenda, discussing everything from vacant and abandoned homes, to a new fire station.

Probably the item the council spent the most time on was the issue of vacant and abandoned homes.

Councilman Henry Davis Jr. had a bill and resolution up for debate.

One was to put a moratorium on demolishing homes.

The other had to do with creating more oversight on tearing down homes.

Davis is asking that the council be aware of testing on homes for things like asbestos and lead before they're demolished.

He also wants letters to go out to neighbors near a home on the demo list, that's it going to be torn down.

"There's nothing wrong with getting our job enhanced. That's all we're doing with this particular bill. We're asking questions to get more qualified information so we don't have words like, 'I think, I thought, somebody told me, I believe.' We would know," says Davis.

Councilman Tim Scott said the bill only added red tape to the process.

He says the city is doing the proper testing and notification of the public.

Davis also issued five amendments to the bill Monday and Council members voted to continue discussion on the bill and the moratorium until May 13th, to take a closer look at the amendments.

Another issue the Council discussed was financing for a new fire station and training facility.

The project is expected to be around the $6 million mark.

A couple residents spoke in concern over the cost.

"Why they need a big training center now, I just don't understand it. They've fought a lot of fires and it's worked out alright," says South Bend resident Dave Wilson.

The fire chief says the training facility is necessary to lessen risk for firefighters.

"It's imperative that we have an up to date, upgraded fire training facility in order for our personnel to be safe, in order to avoid any line of duty death situation," says Chief, Steve Cox.

The Council approved the financing for the project.

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