As I was driving into town to come to work this morning, I noticed the weeds growing up in the median strip on Perkins Street near the Hwy 101 onramp and offramp. I’ve noticed these weed for weeks and they irritate me.
If you checked the median near Hwy 101 on Gobbi Street, I expect you’d see the same thing. While the City of Ukiah and other local government entities promote tourism by telling people what a great place Ukiah is (and it is!), seems to me they could put a little effort into improving visitors’ first impression of our town by trimming the weeds near the highway offramps.
For visitors who take Perkins Street into town, they will be greeted with properties along Perkins Street that are in desperate need of a little TLC. We’ve all seen these properties—with dead, overgrown landscaping and “For Rent” signs affixed with masking tape that’s peeling off in the summer heat.
If those visitors are here to scout out whether Ukiah would be a nice place to live, or even just to stay for a while, many of them are probably thinking, “No, thanks.” For those of us who travel those streets on a daily basis because we live here, it’s disheartening to see our town decline.
For property owners, this decline should be even more alarming. When adjacent properties aren’t maintained, the value of the whole neighborhood or business district goes down. And as for the occupied properties, patrons aren’t likely to have a very good impression of the business if the building and landscaping make it clear no one cares enough to mow the grass or paint the siding. Properties in disrepair leave customers with the impression that they’ll be receiving a lower quality of service and/or merchandise.
If a building is unoccupied—for sale or rent—a shabby appearance doesn’t do the property owners (or those nearby) any favors. Prospective tenants aren’t likely to think too highly about the caliber of the landlord. And they’ll take their cue about how to care for the place from the way it’s been cared for thus far. Prospective buyers are likely to wonder, if the landscaping and basic maintenance have been ignored, what other, more serious issues may have been ignored?
Although I cannot explain the physics of this next phenomenon, I’ve seen it enough to know it’s true: trash in a front yard does, in fact, attract more trash. The same goes for weeds and graffiti. By keeping up a little at a time, property owners prevent a snowball effect from occurring. One graffiti tag left unaddressed can lead to a building received a new coat of paint—spray paint, that is.
So, here’s my request. To the City of Ukiah, I ask that you take a couple hundred dollars out of the thousands spent on promotion and clean up the areas within your control. If you’re a property owner, take a little pride in your property. I’m not saying every building needs a manicured lawn and a new coat of paint every year, but I am suggesting that taking care of your property will improve its appearance, which will pay dividends for passersby, occupants and owners alike.
If you have questions about real estate or property management, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 462-4000. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 40 years.