Friday, January 20, 2012

EDITORIAL NOTEBOOK >> Church reaches out

Here’s an inspirational story.

Cabot aldermen, while working through the process of condemning a batch of derelict buildings, found themselves dealing with an irate homeowner who demanded to know why the city code-enforcement officer was snooping around his mobile home. And why they wanted him to repair it or tear it down.

Edwin Burdick told the city council in September that he would like to have a better place to live, but he is still paying for his land and could not afford another $500-a-month payment.

Pictures that circulated among council members showed that the mobile home did need work. Hanging soffit and fascia boards and a dilapidated addition made it very unsightly. Dilapidated and unsightly are among the criteria for being declared a harmful structure, the first step toward condemnation and demolition.

But how do you put a family out of their home because it is unsightly?

The members of the Cabot City Council obviously weren’t prepared to make that call, so they gave Burdick 60 days to make repairs.

Then in December they gave him 30 more days. How could they condemn someone’s home before Christmas, especially since there was a chance someone might volunteer to help with the work?

We wrote about it when an occupied mobile home made it to the city’s list of harmful structures, something that had never happened before. And we wrote about the two chances the city council gave the owner to clean up and fix up or face condemnation. And now the council has decided to give Burdick another reprieve, perhaps for good.

We admit that we hoped someone who cared was reading. Now we want to express our gratitude for the group that volunteered their labor to try to save the Burdicks’ home as well as the Cabot alderman who said many times that he would never vote for condemnation.

So thank you, Men at Work from Cabot United Methodist Church. You read our stories and decided that someone needed to help a family stay in their home. And thank you, Alderman Jon Moore, for being quotable enough that Mike Hedges with Men at Work knew whom to call to get started.