Meriden owns about 120 vacant lots within the inner city, unused parcels which can be pricey to maintain. On many of these plots once stood homes which had fallen into foreclosure and were consequently acquired and demolished by the government. Rather than continue to pay for upkeep costs of all lots, civic leaders are wisely seeking transference of ownership onto neighbors.
Locals could make better use of empty land. For instance, one man who lives on Prescott Street expressed interest in obtaining a parcel made vacant when Meriden tore down a former on-site home. Reportedly, he intends to plant grass, erect a fence and allow his dogs use of the space. What is a dirt expanse can instead become a new side yard.
Or, perhaps additional pieces of open land could be handed over to entire neighborhoods. Inhabitants of certain areas could collectively preserve lots as parks or some other form of public spot. In this way, residents could come together for common cause, fostering a sense of spirit and responsibility in maintaining one’s surroundings.
Either way, the city would free itself of upkeep obligations. Related expenses for the public works department can add up, especially when some of these parcels have been city-owned for years. Meriden is paying annually for work done on land which serves very little – if any – useful purpose to the city. Opportunities to end this spending should be considered. But only if outcomes are beneficial for Meriden and its residents.
An empty space on Grove Street is example of how officials should proceed with all ownership transferences. The lot attracted notice of a buyer. Local leaders agreed to sell, with prudent stipulations that the buyer replace broken sidewalks on the property, and not build anything which could increase population density.
There is no reason to keep empty land under government possession if residents are willing to take ownership. Instead of maintaining vacant strips, Meriden should sell within the immediate community – eliminating a yearly expense while cultivating community pride and responsibility within the inner-city.