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Monday, Sep. 26, 2016

November 20, 2011

Posted Wednesday, November 23, 2011, at 2:49 PM

In 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed The Homestead Act. In the middle of the American Civil War the United States Congress decided to give away 140 acres of land to individuals who would fulfill certain requirements. One, each person had to make application; two, they had to agree to improve the land and live on it for five years; and step number three they could then file for title to the land.

FREE LAND! That cry started a land rush from Europe to the USA and from the American East Coast to the federal land west of the Mississippi River.

Well, if all goes according to plan the Malden City Council will approve an urban homestead ordinance for our fair city. The idea of giving away lots that the City of Malden has acquired has been discussed for the last several years. Our esteemed city attorney, Mr. Mike Mower, has prepared a document that will, I believe, pass muster.

The City of Malden has a number of properties that have been deeded to us because of back taxes, unpaid liens from maintenance by the City of Malden, and because they are a nuisance or derelict real estate. What do we do with this land? We spend a lot of money every year maintaining it. We have to mow it and pick it up when someone uses it for a place to dump their trash.

What the City of Malden intends to do, if the proposed ordinance becomes law, is give these lots away. The ordinance establishes a procedure and grants a preference to adjoining property owners. There is a minimal fee of $10 to apply for the land. Once someone is awarded the land they must agree by contract to maintain the lot according to the city building code for three years. If they comply with the code and the terms of their contract, the applicant will receive the lot at no cost and an accompanying quit claim deed. FREE LAND! We'll see if there are any takers.

The other item of major interest will be a discussion of how we kill abandoned animals. There appears to be a number of people who believe there is a more humane way to accomplish this. I believe that some will be in attendance tomorrow evening. It is a wonderful thing to see our citizens demand something from their city government. Often, our meetings are sparsely attended. I have said frequently that a community is only as good as the people who live in it. Malden needs volunteers, activists, do gooders, and people who will kick over the hornet's nest when they believe something needs to be changed. What we don't need are pacifists. If you want your hometown to continue to exist and prosper, then join the public fray.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving, another day declared a holiday by President Abraham Lincoln. Thanksgiving celebrates those ideas that are at the heart of our American experience. Cherish the day, and enjoy it with your friends and families. I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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