Evansville's Board of Public Works approved and awarded bids Thursday to tear down houses across the city. A majority of the houses are on the southside in the fourth ward. Many of them are concentrated in the area of South Governor and Jackson.
At one time, Evansville city officials estimated there were thousands of abandoned properties around the city. Many of those properties have homes that need to be demolished. It's a long and arduous process and progress comes at a price.
They look like a boxer after a heavyweight title fight. They are bruised, battered and broken.
But much like Joe Frazier, down they will go and Amanda and Steven Wire will be there cheering.
"Me and my daughter will be sitting right here on the front porch watching," Steven Wire said.
"My little girl, she's four, she asked 'mom, why are those boards on the door?,' Amanda Wire said. "'Those people don't live there anymore? No, it's empty. Are there rats and bugs in there?' You don't know what's living in there."
It's definitely not human. The Wires will tell you that much.
The Board of Public Works approved the demolition of nearly a dozen homes like the one at 1319 South Governor but officials say they have thousands more to go.
It's a long, painful and pricey process. In about 15 minutes, board members approved contracts totaling more than $50 thousand.
"No respect for the community, how it's all run down," Steven Wire said. "You have people that want to buy them but then they don't have the money to fix it up."
The roof is sagging, the walls are bowing and the lawn is less than manicured. How about this for 'home sweet home?'
The Wires share more with their neighbors than just three digits on a mailbox.
"Property values are down tremendously in this neighborhood," Steven Wire said. "We've got these new houses going in that are trying to bring our property values up. They're still a lot of vacant lots."
"Our landlord definitely said that," Amanda Wire said. "She rents a house that's not as nice as ours. She rents it for $600 a month but we only pay $400 a month because that's what we have to look at."
Well, at least that's something to cheer about.
Demolition at these properties should begin in the next few weeks.
Here is a list of the properties that will soon be demolished.
727 Bellemeade Avenue - Raze House
1400 Culver Drive - Raze House & Garage
1319 South Governor Street - Raze House
712 East Gum Street - Raze House
3505 Hogue Road - Raze Car Wash
407 Jackson Avenue - Raze House
2232 Pollack Avenue - Raze House, Shed and attached Carport, Basketball Goal and Interior fencing to be removed.
600 East Powell Avenue - Raze House
768 Washington Avenue - Raze House
408 North Third Avenue - Raze House
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