Correction: The city sent out 1,500 letters to homeowners.
Hundreds of color-speckled dots on a satellite image of Lakewood tell the story of the current state — as well as the future — of the city’s aging housing stock.
Red is bad, green is good.
Last summer, city administrators and building and housing officials set out on foot to examine 11,000 homes in the city.
The result is the Residential Housing Survey, a collection of data that highlights areas of Lakewood that need some attention.
“Now we’re talking about using that information to figure out what we’re going to do with this inventory,” said Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development.
“We know that 84 percent of our houses are in good shape.”
He said that of the 11,000, approximately 1,500 need “significant repair.”
Ward 4, the only portion of the city not canvassed yet, will be addressed this spring.
The city sent out 1,500 letters informing the homeowners of the issues, however most of them minor: cracked driveways; peeling paint; broken rails on porches.
That's when the phones started ringing at city hall.
There are 40 red spots — properties that fall into the “significant disrepair” category — and more than 1,500 homes that fall into the “needs work” category (yellow).
The green dots denote homes that have no visible exterior code violations; the blue dots represent homes that “almost meet” the code.
The letters, already arriving in Lakewood mailboxes, aren’t correction notices, rather warnings of potential future issues, Siley added.
The city is partnering with LakewoodAlive, the city’s economic development organization, to address the concerns.
"If you need help, there are resources available," said Ian Andrews, the director of LakewoodAlive, adding that housing is a centerpiece to strong neighborhoods and a thriving city.
"As the housing stock goes, so goes Lakewood."
Right now, the city will focus its efforts on one portion of the city: from Marlowe to Woodward avenues and Detroit to Madison avenues.
“We still have 1,500 houses that sill have significant repair needs," Siley said. "We’re doing data research on all the threes to get the back stories — delinquencies, foreclosures, water usage. We’re trying to figure out what’s going on financially with that property.
“We ‘ve done the initial inspections, and we are going to follow up with the building inspectors in April and start citing these properties.”