Editorial: Downtown’s dirt lot dilemma | CraigDailyPress.com

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Editorial: Downtown’s dirt lot dilemma

Editorial board members:

• Al Cashion

— Community representative

• Bryce Jacobson

— Newspaper representative

• Bridget Manley

— Newspaper representative

• Chris Nichols

— Community representative

• Jeff Pleasant

— Community representative

• Joshua Roberts

— Newspaper representative

Our View

Our view: A mild winter along with nice weather this week has turned thoughts to spring for the editorial board. Specifically, making our fair Craig and Moffat County look better. An area to improve? Eyesores that are vacant lots around town, one of them more so than others.

Maybe this week's unbelievably beautiful weather is winter's eviction, or perhaps — the more likely scenario — it's an aberration to tease us before final gasps of storms blow in and bury us in snow for another few weeks.

Either way, it has the editorial board, and most likely many Craig and Moffat County residents, thinking about long days of sunshine and warm temperatures.

Spring is on the way, thankfully, which means the community needs to start thinking beautification so our fair Craig and Moffat County's aesthetics match its true beauty.

To the editorial board, there are some obvious areas in the community that need rehabilitation. The most blighted areas, board members contend, are vacant lots around town.

The ugliest and most glaring of these sits in downtown Craig, directly north of the Craig Daily Press.

The lot, which is in a prime location, could easily be transformed from the uneven dirt patch it currently is to a much-needed parking lot, or park space similar to Alice Pleasant up the street.

Overtures have been made in the past to the lot's owner, but they have been rebuffed, or been answered with outrageous asking prices.

Fair enough.

But, the lot simply can no longer be allowed to sit the way it is. If the owner is intent on keeping the property, improvements have to be made.

If not, as is more likely, the city needs to step in and claim the lot for the betterment of the community overall and downtown specifically.

In general, the editorial board doesn't support eminent domain. In most cases, we believe the government shouldn't intrude on the rights of a private property owner.

But, the vacant lot downtown has to be viewed as an exception.

The lot is a dirt patch and an eyesore.

It's a blight on downtown, adversely impacting businesses and property values, is barely maintained if at all, and accounts for important space that could be of better use for the community throughout the year.

The owner has been given numerous opportunities over the years to do something with the property or remedy the situation in some manner. Nothing has been done.

If the owner is content with the dirt patch, the community shouldn't be, and silence and inaction should no longer be accepted.

The time for patience has passed and city officials need to step in.

There's no sense in allowing this dirt lot to remain the blister on downtown it's become.

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