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Letter: Gainesville should better enforce rules to clean up Midtown
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In reading the article in The Times on Sunday regarding the new apartment complex Enclave being built off MLK Boulevard, as a resident of the southside of Gainesville, I am glad you are noticing the perils Midtown faces. I was born on Bradford Street almost 68 years ago in the house that I am living in now. The house has been in my family since 1936.

I was very irritated that our side of town is perceived as a blighted or neglected area. It is true there are not many residential homes left in Midtown, at least not on Main, Bradford, Summit or Chestnut streets. But my family and I have put an enormous amount of time, money and love in preserving our family home and I take offense at the statement.

In the late 1990s, when the Revitalize Midtown program was taking place, we bought two other properties on Summit and the house next door to ours on Bradford, completely renovated them inside and did extensive yard work outside to make them homes that our tenants could be proud of.

Unfortunately, when the downfall came in 2008 we were not financially able to keep any home other than the one we still live in. The people who now own those properties have turned them into slum houses where they have multiple families living in a small two-bedroom house or in the duplex where there is only one bedroom on each side.

I have to call on a regular basis to report loud noises; trash piled up in the yard attracting rats, making me have to keep poison out and under my buildings to get rid of them; numerous vehicles parked in the front and backyards; and clothes thrown across the front porch railings to dry when there is a laundromat at the top of the street. All these things depreciate the value of my home.

At this point I have too much money invested in my property to get a decent price even if I wanted to sell, which I don’t, with the type of neighbors we have. If the city is interested in making Midtown more attractive to future tenants, why do they allow such deplorable conditions and our code restrictions to be ignored? I have had to make many calls to the Code Enforcement department to ask for help getting the neighborhood cleaned up. It works for a while, but when no one is watching, it goes back to the same deplorable condition it was previously.

All I’m saying is building new apartments will not make a difference for Midtown unless the city of Gainesville will pay more attention to enforce the rules and restrictions we have already in place.

Paula Emmett