City's demolition list dwindling, neighbors relieved

Published: Jul. 19, 2018 at 9:53 PM CDT
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Neighbors who live near abandoned and condemned houses describe them as eyesores. However, it can take time to get the building on the demolition list.

Five years ago, there were 828 homes on the city's demolition list. According to Mayor Jean Stothert, that list is getting short.

Daniel Jok moved into one of the new homes at a neighborhood at 32nd and Seward two years ago. Condemned homes in neighborhoods tend to attract drugs and other crime. He said he's grateful for the disappearance of one in his neighborhood.

Neighbors notice a difference when those homes disappear.

"Once you get new houses, neighbors take more pride in their own house and it completely changes the neighborhood," said Mike Gawley with Holy Name Housing Corp.

City leaders understand it takes $11,000 to demolish an abandoned home and have been putting the money aside every year.

"By the end of next year, we should have about 35 homes left," said Stothert about the dwindling list of houses to demolish.

The city is almost caught up.

"We're working on building homes here in Adams Park," said Gawley.

Organizations like Gawley's and like Habitat for Humanity take the blank canvas that used to be the abandoned home, and build an affordable home.

This happened at 27th and Maple, a place that had been an eyesore for more than 40 years.

"The city tore down these homes in the 70's," explained Gawley.

Out of the 18 cottages built for seniors in the spot, six of them already have renters.

Even around the senior cottages, Holy Name is putting up five single family homes, hoping to rebuild a thriving neighborhood like what used to stand in the spot.