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heart of a derelict

May 12, 2008

Last week our old neighbors came by to look at their former house– the one two doors down which I recently mentioned. It made them really sad; I can only imagine what it would feel like to see this house defaced by neglect. The poor thing looks like a drunk lying face down in the gutter.

There’s just no excuse for it! Up until two or three years ago, it was a modest, lovely, impeccably maintained house. Like the other houses on this block, nothing fancy: just care and the life within. That was the house my youngest sister’s first little best friend lived in. Then our dear friends that I mentioned above. More recently, the holiday lady who put up her Halloween decorations on September 1, and whose three-year-old grandson fell madly in love with my niece.

I’m the furthest thing in the world from a lawn Nazi. But what’s going on here is just profiteering combined with contempt for the surrounding neighborhood. Overturned garbage cans practically on the curb, staining the driveway; huge ragged parched weeds in the front; rotting free newspapers in the driveway; the for sale sign and its aforementioned “decorations.”

It shouldn’t take city ordinances or even social pressure to prevent this. All it should take is some courtesy and respect on the part of the commercial interests who own this house.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2008 6:11 PM

    I saw a news story a day or two ago (and of course, now I can’t find a link for it), about how the city of Boston of dealing the problem of foreclosures and urban blight. Essentially, any real estate company or bank that abandons the care and maintenance of a property awaiting sale will have to deal with the city’s Foreclosure Intervention Team. Here’s a link from a few months ago.
    http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/02/28/city_tries_to_nip_blight_from_foreclosures/
    I saw a similiar sort of thing growing up in Eastern Kentucky. In the 1980s, a lot of the larger family farms went belly up, and the property was usually subdivided into lots for sale for homes, in order to make a quick profit. By 2000, a once sparsely populated countryside is littered with junky mobile homes and half-finished houses. It’s one of the reasons that led me to leave the area; the property next to my parents, a wooded lot of several hundred acres where I played as a child and hunted as a teenager, was cleared in a matter of a few weeks and similarly subdivided. Fortunately for my folks, the area is so wet that no one can build there, but it shows a similar lack of respect for the character of the area and for the neighbors.

  2. May 16, 2008 6:02 AM

    It’s like a constant, gnawing pain, to see the land destroyed like that, so wantonly; it just never goes away. What’s gone on around here in the past decade or so– I can’t even describe it. It’s like a mass slaughter.
    I think they passed a law like that here too– I heard about it on the news just a couple of weeks ago. It’s just amazing to me that you’d have to pass a law to get people to behave like anything besides a sociopathic economic predator.

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