Monday, Dec 9, 2013
Mt. Vernon Targets Abandoned Homes
MT. VERNON -- Abandoned homes in Mt. Vernon are being torn down to make way for new middle class housing.
Ten properties throughout the city have been declared dilapidated and will be leveled this month. The homes are up to 80 years old and have become hazards in their neighborhoods. City officials hope tearing them down will make the areas safer and attract new development.
"This house right here is the 157th home I have watched come down in the last eight years," said Mt. Vernon city inspector Derrick Qutisch, "It had structural issues, interior rotting and the roof was starting to fall in."
Some of the homes are damaged by fire, others simply rotting away, but all of them pose a safety threat.
"By tearing down the homes it helps limit chances of people opening some kind of drug house, and it improves our neighborhoods and it improves our communities," explained Qutisch.
The city has budgeted nearly $200,000 this year for demolition projects. It's money that neighbors say is well spent.
Cody Hawkins lives just a few doors down from Mt. Vernon's most recent demolition project. He is happy the city is finally getting rid of the home.
"No one has lived in the house for at least five years," said Hawkins, "Whoever owned the house never mowed their yard so the grass would get extremely tall and you couldn't even see around it or look up the road."
The city will demolish three more homes before the end of the month.
"A lot of it is just we are on a cleanup campaign to clean up the city and rid get rid of the houses that are just sitting here," said Quitsch.
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