West End's WE-HAV property program ends

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The city's experimental neighborhood improvement district for the West End is dead.

City Council voted 7-1 yesterday to terminate the West End Home Assurance Value program, or WE-HAV, and Mayor Tom Murphy agrees.

Murphy and Councilman Alan Hertzberg created the program two years ago, modeling it on a successful program in Chicago. The program also was supposed to be similar to business improvement districts in Downtown and Oakland.

But unlike those programs, residents affected by the neighborhood support initiative never warmed to it.

Residents had to pay $125 to fully opt into the program and get their homes appraised. If they sold their homes after five years for less than the earlier appraised price, WE-HAV would pay them the difference from an insurance pool.

To fuel that insurance pool, the city required all West End homeowners to pay $20 annually. That was very unpopular in the neighborhoods, and residents started a petition drive to terminate the program, which ended with council's vote yesterday.

"If the community no longer wants it in place, we will support the community," Murphy spokesman Craig Kwiecinski said.


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