The city of Reno says the abandoned Lambda Chi Fraternity House up at UNR poses an aesthetic threat to the neighborhood.
“There is a well known theory, called the broken window theory, which states, its true, it has been proven, you have a broken window or property with graffiti, its like weeds, it just grows,” says Alex Woodley, Reno Code Enforcement Manager.
While the increased graffiti in the Ralston Street area can't all be blamed on the broken windows at the Lambda Chi house, neighbors in the area say it doesn't help that the large house has that and graffiti on it.
“I don't like it. It think it sends a message that this is a bad area,” Kyleigh Larson, a residents in the are told us last week..
The City of Reno says UNR Police have told them they are keeping an eye on the house.
According to an alumni adviser, his group goes by the house often as well.
While Rick Casazza agrees the broken window and graffiti are a problem, they should have the house leased soon, at which point the cleanup will really begin.
“It doesn't look the best right now, and its our intention to get it cleaned up. We are marketing it right now for lease and we have about 4 groups looking at it. So by the fall semester we anticipate it being leased,” says Casazza.
But the city says they aren't going to wait, the city says its notified the alumni they have 24 hours to fix the window, and they will be required to clean up the graffiti--what the city fears most they say is a transient making the abandoned house his or her home.
“That's dangerous for us because people try to stay inside at night. They'll start a fire, there's no electricity and it becomes a worst case scenario for us,” says Woodley.
Lambda Chi Alumni say the worst case and the neighborhood concerns can all be quieted once a new lease is signed.
Casazza says they've been showing the house to prospective lessees.
That's why all the windows have not been boarded up.