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OUR VIEW: Albemarle reveals code to the future

As the future of Albemarle goes, Tuesday’s 6 p.m. meeting at city hall regarding the Commercial Maintenance Code is very important.

The effort to renew Albemarle begins at this meeting.

It only takes a quick walk around the perimeter of downtown to see the types of problems the city is hoping to address with this new code. A vacant building on Depot Street has large weeds growing inside the front window. A building on West Main looks to be structurally compromised as part of the roof and floors have fallen into the basement. Then there are the abandoned factory buildings with numerous broken windows and un-mowed lots.

The Stanly News & Press reported on this issue of abandoned and dilapidated buildings back in April. This coming ordinance was listed as a tool needed by the city to enforce minimum building standards on commercial property in much the same way minimum standards are enforced on residential property.

It is clear, something must be done to clear out these deadwood buildings before new growth can begin. A revitalized downtown economy with the addition of the Pfeiffer University program will help, but it isn’t the only answer. Commercial property owners need to be held accountable for the maintenance and upkeep of their property.

Albemarle is working hard to renew itself and move into the new post-industrial era, but that effort is made more difficult by absentee property owners who are not invested in the future of our town.

It is important for property owners to be involved and work to renew Albemarle. This meeting Tuesday is a good place to start.