March 1, 2014

City demolishes blighted Gridley Street house

The city ripped down a condemned three-decker house on Gridley Street Friday as part of its renewed blight fight.
Mayor Ken Cockayne said the house was in “real bad” shape and its owner had not responded to repeated orders to fix it up.
The 114-year-old house, condemned last September, had so much roof, siding, window and structural damage that saving it would have required extensive repairs, city officials said.
The owner, Erik Guerra of Monroe, could not be reached for comment.
Guerra bought it in 2004 for $154,000. The city recently appraised the property for $181,000, of which $42,000 was for the land alone.
The city’s building official, Guy Morin, issued an order Dec. 23 to raze the structure because he deemed it “unsafe, dangerous and unsanitary.” He gave the owner 10 days to take action, but nothing was done.
Cockayne said that by the time weather allowed for razing the house, it was “beyond repair” because so much water had poured in through the roof that its interior was utterly ruined.
An excavator hired by the city tore through the house Friday, reducing it to a pile of rubble in about four hours. The cost of the demolition will be charged to the owner, officials said.
The city has torn down several blighted houses since Cockayne took office promising to pick up the pace of a blight fight that’s been fought off and on since Mayor Frank Nicastro’s tenure more than a decade ago.
Cockayne said he has no intention of slowing down.
“We are not stopping,” he said. “Stay tuned. More to come.”

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