SOUTH BEND -- All it took were a few minutes into the question and comment session at a community forum, Wednesday night, to find out why some neighbors don't like Mayor Pete Buttigieg's plan to knock down potentially hundreds of severely dilapidated, vacant, and abandoned homes.
“You can't strip away the natural character of a neighborhood and expect it to survive,” said Henry Davis Jr., a South Bend Common Council member, “if we reduce our capacity, we reduce the quality of life here in this city.”
Opponents of the mayor’s plan say they don't want to see South Bend turn into a city of empty lots, especially when some of those houses, with a little work, could be put to good use.
But supporters say what stands on many street corners now, simply must go.
“The rats, the mice, the raccoons, the break-ins, I should have to live with that because somebody won’t take the responsibility of tearing down a house?” asked Becky Kaiser, a homeowner.
The meeting brought out a lot of people who worry about the future of their neighborhoods and that was the point -- so the mayor could gather some initial reaction to his vacant and abandoned housing plan.
“We're going to see an improvement that we think affects the whole city,” said Buttigieg.