Thursday, September 1, 2016

OPEN FORUM: How Can Dorchester Fill Vacant Homes Or Encourage New Housing?

Facebook and other social media outlets make it easier to gather feedback from our readers.

One example came this past weekend, when we asked our Facebook followers how Dorchester should encourage the sale/redevelopment of currently vacant homes in our community -- or encourage new housing construction within the village.

Here are the responses we received:

* "Lure in a large corporate business. That would do the trick."

* "Ceaning up main street. Some of the vacant buildings need painting and fixing."

* "Fix main street and the rest will come."

* "Recruit a grocery store."

* "A quick shop or somewhere we can at least get a pop and a loaf of bread if we need it. Having once owned the grocery store, I am willing to say that may not be viable in Dorchester with Walmart so close, but I think a quick shop would do great! Someone should talk to Co-Op about doing that."

* "We need available housing before we lure more people into town. Otherwise it's just more people living in other towns, working in Dorchester, yet doing all of their business in the town where they live. I think the question is, "How do we get current property owners to sell or rent to the people who want to live here but can't find housing?"

* "I would think that the fact that our new superintendent had to buy a house in Friend (because none of the 25 empty houses are actually for sale) should be a big eye opener."

* "I lived in Dorchester for over 30 years and enjoyed all of the 30 years. I raised my kids in Dorchester and they did quite well. Education was good and there are some very good teachers there. we had a grocery store there in town which was nice. The library there was good and my husband enjoyed it very much. ... It is a nice quite place to live and raise a family. I moved just this year so could be closer to my family. I had a wonderful hair dresser there. You need to advertise the business more, fix up the downtown area more. I will miss living there because I met some great people there.  You need to show people this is a good town to live in with a family.  Penny is doing a good job with being an neighborhood inspector.  We need that to make Dorchester attractive and appealing to people and to let people know what kinds of business here in town and about the nice park, community building, Legion hall, places to eat, and gas station.  We also cannot forget about the volunteers on the fire department the time they put in.  Advertising is one best way to get people wanting to come there on web and in the newspaper."

* "I try really hard to keep my shop clean, free of weeds, ect. ... but the rest of Main Street does not look so good. That needs to improve and maybe supporting Dorchester a little bit by the people of Dorchester would help a lot."

* "What is the village going to do with the lot that is getting cleaned up south of the park behind the bank? That would be a great building spot for a grocery store."

We also heard from an older reader who does not have Internet, but e-mailed us through her son's account after he showed her our Facebook survey and responses.  She wrote:
* "Dorchester, like many small towns in America, needs to promote its high quality of life.  No magic fairy will come and make people or businesses appear. That will take the hard work of town leaders and the support of all the people.  I suggest that Dorchester needs to grow up around 1,000 residents to make up for all the lost farm families over the past several decades.  To do that someone should talk to a developer and locate a new subdivision outside town to prompt new housing for families and retirees.  That would increase population for both the school and businesses."

What are your ideas? We would love to have them in the "comments" section below.  Also, check out the full conversation -- with some encouraging and some rather frank comments -- by clicking here.


  1. All those people who complain about high water bills or electric bills should be trying to fill vacant homes around town. The more people you have in a community, the more those costs and expenses get shared by other households. Think about it.

  2. Why can't we do an incentive program of a reduced utility bill for the first year someone buys a house need something to show that the village is willing to help bring people in?

  3. As a younger generation home owner, it would be nice to see more community activities. We lucked out by purchasing our house before it went to market. Otherwise Dorchester was never on our radar, because of the lack of suitable homes. Many improvements can be made, but it does no good to blame or shame others when the community can come together and work to improve our image. Paved streets of some kind would keep us in town. A new housing development would draw more people. It would be nice to see options for all income levels!

  4. We have to have the village daddies stop looking over our shoulders and spending untold dollars for people that think they know how we should maintain our property.

    1. That's a good thing! Standards, get used to 'em!


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