Trash or Treasure Part Three
By Dan Breitwieser, WCJB TV 20 News.
It's the end of the line for the worst of the worst--homes so bad that the only option is demolition.
In neighborhoods all over Gainesville, code enforcement has recognized almost 150 buildings as dangerous buildings--in various stages of needing to be torn down. The Springhill neighborhood is breathing a little easier knowing that just last week, a hotbed for vagrants, drugs and prostitution was demolished.
"It's like heaven again," says Alberta H. Walls who lives in the neighborhood.
It's heaven for her now that the boarded up building has gone bye- bye. The mailbox at 1026 SE 6th Avenue was locked up and hadn't been used in years, but the lot wasn't empty.
Trash and garbage that's built up from vagrants at an astonishing rate. A mattress, shoes, clothes, furniture, a pile of garbage that's about six feet tall--all came from one small room.
It doesn't take long to tear down something took months to build and was lived in for decades: all of about three minutes.
"I was born and raised in this neighborhood and I just love seeing it safe," says Wall. "I feel safe again."
Gainesville Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Look says the city will never run out of properties like this one. "The list grows by about 20 properties a year," says Look. "But our budget only allows us at best to take down 8 or 10 of them."
So the list is growing.
The owner at 1026 SE 6th Avenue was nowhere to be found so the citizens of Gainesville are paying for this. But the city may get their money back eventually as a lien has been put on the property.
As this eyesore is eliminated, other neighbors aren't so lucky. Instead, the city levies a daily fine hoping to force homeowners to clean up their act. Many fines reach into the tens of thousands of dollars and even higher. But for the most part, little of that money will ever enter city coffers. If the problem is dealt with, usually the code enforcement board can vastly reduce or even eliminate the fines completely.
Mae Scott has served with the Springhill Neighborhood Crimewatch for 5 years. She says tearing this house down will make a big difference.
"I'm so happy," says Scott. "I'm so glad it's gone. Thank God for that!"
Demolishing the home has put a little piece of heaven into the Springhill neighborhood for all generations.
"It's like taking back your neighborhood," says Walls. "If you don't stand, nothing will happen."
So what should you do if you have an eyesore near you?
Call a code enforcement officer. But if the owner doesn't want to cooperate, don't expect quick results.
So although one man's trash may be another man's treasure, you may not have to look at it.
- Trash or Treasure? Part Two
- Trash or Treasure Part One
- The State of Real Estate Part Three
- Alternative Medicine: Allergies, Part Three
- Dan's Day Trips Part Three
- Trash Piling Up As Collection Stops
- Treasure Hunters Roadshow
- Claim Your Treasures
- Alachua County Doesn't Want To Waste Our Trash
- Commissioners Talk Trash