Thursday, December 27, 2007

BLIGHT ALERT: Condemned Shacks on 5th Avenue Open to Criminals

One of two dilapidated shacks in Salemtown sits open tonight (as of 6:00) for any drug dealer, gang members, or vagabond to use as they will. The doors of the place have been open since this morning. A group of men were observed partially dismantling the front chain link fence this morning, but they were gone before noon and either they took the front and back doors with them, or they simply left them open. Signs that had warned people that the shacks were uninhabitable are gone, which would seem to make them dangerous to any neighborhood kids who might go exploring. I have no idea whether the group was a hired demolition crew or thieves bent on stealing whatever they could find on the property. But the front fence is still partially standing.

The owner of the shacks, Billy W. Easterling (as listed on the Metro website), does not live in the blight himself and no visible improvements have been made since he bought the vacant property in last Spring. I drove down the back alley this afternoon and observed trash dumped in the back yard and no fence or other obstacle that would slow up entry through the open back door. I'd say that it is time to activate the neighborhood watch and consider contacting Metro Codes before any criminal element stakes their claim on it in the absence and neglect of the owner.

UPDATE: At least one neighbor says that he has noticed the shack open for months. Holy crap.

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