The City of Cleburne and local non-profit Christmas in Action (CIA) are teaming up to improve residents’ living conditions, strengthen the city’s tax base, and protect the community’s growth and prosperity.
Cleburne City Council recently approved a 380 Economic Development with CIA to create the Helping Occupants Prosper Every Day (HOPE) Community Revitalization Program. In the program, CIA will lead the redevelopment of existing homes and assist residents whose homes do not meet code and do not have the means to meet the city’s standards.
“In a lot of communities you can take a hammer with the city codes and ordinances, but then you have to address the root issue of people that need help and not being able to do that,” Mayor Scott Cain said. “With the HOPE Program and the leadership from the volunteers with Christmas in Action we’re going to see some amazing things.”
Since 1999, CIA has organized volunteer groups, churches, community leaders, and local businesses to participate in the renovation, clean-up, and construction of countless Cleburne homes.
As part of the agreement, the City of Cleburne will pay CIA $50,000 annually. The partnership is established for a two-year term with one additional one-year renewal.
“We are glad the city has decided to partner with us so we can do more work,” said Teresa Richardson Bednar, Secretary to the CIA Board. “With the additional funds, we’re going to be able to help more people.”
The HOPE Program fits into the City’s larger approach to modernize Cleburne’s property maintenance standards. The City Council is considering adopting the International Property Maintenance Code and amending existing codes. Compared to other North Texas communities, the Cleburne has not had the same level of property maintenance codes. This has led to residents living in hazardous conditions or maintaining properties in ways that negatively impact the health and safety of neighbors and the values of nearby homes and businesses.
These changes introduce policies that many municipalities around the world already enforce and that many residents expect including the parking of vehicles in residential neighborhoods, noxious and invasive plants, and more.
The City Council recognizes the role residences play in a city’s ad valorem property tax base. Numerous owner-occupied houses in Cleburne exhibit various stages of decline, which has a major impact on the deterioration of the local real estate property tax base. This program promotes development within the city as a whole and is essential for continued economic growth.
The City of Cleburne has entered similar partnerships in the past, which focused on residential structure rehabilitation. Previous programs centered on the construction of new homes to fill vacant lots. A change in the local economy has allowed the City to sell these types of lots and shift its focus toward home revitalization projects.