Problem Pair of Properties to be Demolished

A pair of chronically vacant and blighted homes plaguing a neighborhood near Evansville's west side will soon be demolished, thanks to the diligence of concerned neighbors and constant monitoring by the Building Commission.

The homes located at 2120 and 2122 West Delaware Street are beyond repair, officials said. The foundation is cracked; the siding sags; the roof is in disrepair and the back door at one of the homes is wide open. Torn crime scene tape is still knotted to the front porch and two sun-bleached building permits from 2008 still hang in the window.

Inside, there are large piles of dirty clothes, trash and other debris. You can smell it long before you walk up the back porch.

D'Lee Vieck hasn't lived next door to the blighted homes for very long but she's already grown weary.

"The whole block is a decent block. It really is," Vieck said. "Then you have the two houses that bring down the value of the rest of the homes."

The pair of blighted homes won't be standing for much longer. At a code enforcement hearing late last week, the hearing officer affirmed the Building Commission's request to demolish the two properties. According to the building inspector who opened a case against the properties in May 2014, there has been no progress made by the homeowners and the homeowners themselves have been unresponsive.

According to property records, Carl and Marianna Woodall have owned the two properties for many years. The couple also owns two other blighted properties a block over on West Michigan Street. The couple has not paid property taxes on any of the four properties in the past year.

At the code enforcement hearing, Gloria and George Martin testified and implored the hearing officer to allow the Building Commission to tear down the homes.

"[People using drugs] have been going in there to sleep. The house is right next door to another house that's about three feet away. If it were to ever catch fire, it would definitely catch both houses on fire," Martin said. "The house at 2120 West Delaware has been empty for 20 something years. It has not been rented. [My wife's] dad was the last one who rented it."

While no demolition date has been set for the two vacant properties, Vieck and the rest of the neighborhood will celebrate when the walls come tumbling down.

"I'm glad that they're going to be gone because it's an opportunity for squatters to come in and bring some bad things to the block that shouldn't be," Vieck said. "People driving by, they automatically thing, 'oh it's not a very good block when in reality you have great people that live on this block. But you have a couple homes that bring down the value of everybody."


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