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Springfield Residents Concerned About Abandoned Buildings

Updated: Wednesday, April 23 2014, 12:21 AM CDT

Some Springfield residents say they're tired of waiting for the city to demolish abandoned homes in their neighborhood. The Director of Public Works says they're on schedule to get rid of about 100 properties.

The problem with old buildings is clear here along North Grand Avenue. There is one boarded up home, but it's then followed by another a few feet away which actually caught fire, but neighbors say the location of these homes near Lanphier High School is what makes them so dangerous.

"There is no use for it. They are just taking up space," says North Grand Avenue Resident, Byron Cole.

Old and abandoned buildings continue to plague neighborhoods across the capital city. A boarded up home on North Grand Avenue is right across from Lanphier High School, which raises concern among local residents.

"There is a lot of broken glass and stuff that kids can get hurt on. There are a lot of kids that walk back and forth from school and stuff," said Cole.

Byron Cole and Allan Prichard have lived along North Grand Avenue for years. They say the abandoned home caught fire a year and a half ago and has been sitting empty ever since.

Springfield Public Works crews plan to demolish the property within the next week, but Prichard says the neighborhood is tired of the delay.

"I would say they waited too long. They should have been on top of it or at least on top of the landlord to keep it cleaned up and make it safe for kids," said Prichard.

Safety is what officials at Springfield Public Works say prevents them from simply bringing in heavy equipment in right away to knock an old building down.

"A lot of times there are issues with asbestos abatement, those kinds of things. It has to be abated," said Director of Public Works, Mark Mahoney.

Even before that process, public works officials must get control of an old property through a court order.

Since last October, the City of Springfield has demolished about 65 homes. Leaving behind nothing but a footprint of what used to be.

"Best case scenario is if we have 2 or 3 lots together we would like to build new homes in these lots and redevelop those neighborhoods," said Mahoney.

Director Mark Mahoney says the city will be working with private contractors this summer to demolish an additional 30 to 35 homes. The goal is to get rid of 100 abandoned buildings every year.

Public Works budgets half a million dollars every year to the demolition of old buildings.

Public Works Director Mark Mahoney says the cost of bulldozing each property ranges from as little as a thousand dollars to as much $10,000/
Mahoney says the costs depend on how much asbestos disposal is needed.

Springfield Residents Concerned About Abandoned Buildings

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