Neighbors take action against Metro East eyesore - KMOV.com

Neighbors take action against Metro East eyesore

Roaches, rats and maggots -- that's what one homeowner says has moved in next door.  The house is foreclosed.

News 4's Maggie Crane investigates one of Your Stories -- the struggle to get rid of a Metro East eyesore.   

Neighbors have taken it upon themselves to mow the front lawn and board up the windows at a Cahokia home.  Now the issue is about the stench wafting out of this house and what little the city can do to fix it.

"There's maggots back there, roaches, flies and rats, and piles upon piles of trash," Lisa Sanders says.

Pictures neighbor Lisa Sanders sent to News 4 shows the problem she has with the city.

"I can only do so much," Sanders says.  "This isn't my step-father's responsibility to cut this grass.  Where's my help?  I need help."

The Village of Cahokia mows once a month and charges the property owner, in this case a bank, $100 per cut.  The home in the 300 block of St. Ellen St. has been abandoned for about two years and has racked up a nearly $2,000 tab.

"Sometimes we get that reimbursed when the house gets sold, but a lot of times we don't, so it's just a big loss for us," Village of Cahokia Public Works Director Jay Torry says.

"So basically you're doing this for free at taxpayers' expense," News 4 Reporter Maggie Crane says.

"You could say that, yes, but it keeps the neighborhoods looking better than it would," Torry says.

Sanders says she has had problems getting the city to keep it clean.  But when News 4 called the public works department, the lawn got mowed just 20 minutes later.

"I said on your way back in stop and mow it.  I don't care what it takes.  Get it done today," Torry says.

The Village says its hands are tied.  The number of foreclosed homes has doubled from about 400 to 800 within the past year -- all while city staff is shrinking.

"I have four guys," Torry says.  "I try to fit in as many as I can in a day, barring fixing potholes or something major that might come up."

And if you're wondering why city workers won't just go in and clean it out, they legally can't because the city does not own the property.

What's the biggest eye sore in your neighborhood?  Get in on the conversation on our Facebook page or find me at Maggie Crane KMOV.

Maggie Crane is a reporter at News 4.  To contact her, email mcrane@kmov.com

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