Residents want abandoned homes torn down - WNEM TV 5

Residents want abandoned homes torn down

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Mid-Michigan families are speaking out about several blighted homes.

They say the homes are not only an eyesore, but also a danger to the entire community.

Residents living in the Saginaw neighborhood said they refuse to live by the rundown properties any longer.

City leaders said they want the blight torn down as well, but first they need to know who owns the properties.

Lillie O'Neal has lived in her neighborhood for more than 20 years, but said things have changed.

"Vacant homes, it's just not safe," O'Neal said.

She wants something done about it.

"It's embarrassing and it's right down from the Dow Event Center. The little area that we call downtown, it's right in the same area on Johnson Street. So for the people that come through our community and look at it, it might be a turn off," O'Neal said.

Living next to an abandoned house can bring down the true beauty of a neighborhood, but imagine living next to several abandoned homes. The neighbors said they are sick of it.

"These abandoned houses are not just an endangerment to the community, but to the children. So why not make this a priority," said Alfredo Mata, Saginaw resident.

Tim Novak, Saginaw County treasurer, said removing blight is at the top of the city's list.

"I'm a firm believer that a vacant blighted structure can cause an increase in crime. We hope eventually property values will go up. Quality of life in the neighborhood can increase with the blighted structures gone, but yeah, they're a home for criminals and bad guys," Novak said.

Before the homes can be demolished there are a few things to consider.

"The first thing we need to do it find out who owns them and start from there," Novak said.

Finding out if the property is owned by the county or a land bank can determine who is responsible for the tear down. Then the liable party must assess how unsafe the structure is - which means considering things like asbestos, whether electricity and water are still running, and checking the condition of the roof.

Novak said once those steps are complete the process takes between three to five months.

In the meantime, O'Neal said she is going to continue to try to spruce up her neighborhood as much as she can.

"We'll just keep it as clean as possible, just pick up the paper and stuff of that nature," O'Neal said.

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