OPELOUSAS, LA (KLFY)— A newly proposed city ordinance aims to tackle the issue of blighted and vacant properties in downtown Opelousas.

Members of the community hope this move can help revitalize the city.

Gretchen Erlingson, a resident of Opelousas her entire life says the issue has been going on for years.

“They have not been actively marketed, and they have done the minimal to maintain them.”

Erlingson is looking to bring the downtown area back to what it once was.

She said there have been multiple attempts to do something about the buildings and the absent landowners.

The proposed ordinance is looking to make the property owners more responsible by forcing owners to either rent out or sell the buildings and enforce fines for unoccupied buildings.

“This is one of the best approaches that I have seen yet in the multiple attempts that has gone on.”

Beth James says this ordinance can provide an opportunity for the leaders of the city to make a statement.

She said it actually makes someone alert that you really need to get your building back into commerce.

“I think that it gives this mayor and this counsel an opportunity to do something really bold and to really make the changes they want to make.”

Both James and Erlingson believe if the downtown area can be revitalized, then the whole city of Opelousas can have a rebirth as well.

The ordinance will be addressed at the city council meeting on Feb. 8.