Residents: Alton slow to demolish deserted homes

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by Chris Stanford / News 4

KMOV.com

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Jul 17 at 9:30 PM

(KMOV.com) - Dilapidated and deserted homes are scattered throughout the Mexico neighborhood of Alton, but one small block has seven such homes, and some residents are fed up that the city hasn’t yet taken down the eyesores. 

When Richard Jones steps out his front door or looks out his front windows he’s faced with several abandoned properties along the 1100 block of Long Avenue.  Jones is frustrated by the condition of his neighborhood because his home is well kept, along with several other homes on the block. 

“It creates a problem because drug addicts and everybody come down here and steal stuff off the houses,” said Jones.

One abandoned house directly across from Jones was destroyed by fire Wednesday morning.  The cause of that fire Thursday was undetermined, said Deputy Fire Chief Mark Harris.  The burned out property was set to be demolished, but the city was waiting on a court order for demolition when it burned, said Alton Housing and Development Director, Greg Caffey.

“We’ve been very aggressive trying to manage and trying to acquire vacant property,” said Caffey.

Neighborhood resident Gary Crawford said Alton isn’t acting quickly enough on the abandoned properties that he said have been vacant for several years.

“The city takes them over, but then the city drags their heels tearing these houses down,” said Crawford.

Caffey said all of the derelict buildings on Long Avenue are on the city’s radar.

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