BRADENTON -- The burned-out shell of a house has been empty since November 2013, but the structure at 1301 12th Ave. W. in the Village of the Arts was torn down Wednesday and village residents "are dancing in the streets," according to John Tietjen, owner of Music Music.
Tietjen witnessed the demolition and said seeing the burned-out home come down is a symbol of things to come for the village.
"For one, it was an eyesore and gave people visiting the village the wrong impression of the neighborhood," he said. "But it also was dangerous. I would see kids running around that property and going inside of it. There were also transients using it to sleep for the night, so it's been a miracle that no one has been hurt."
The demolition was made possible after the city a few months ago adopted an ordinance that cleared the way for officials to designate for demolition abandoned structures that represent an immediate and significant threat to pub
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Bradenton building official Jeff Camden said the 12th Avenue West property was just one that the city has identified and added that he was was happy to see it gone.
"I know it was unsightly and it was also dangerous," said Camden. "To see that one come down means we are on the right foot. Besides that property, there are more within the city that have been identified as representing a public risk and are being considered necessary for demolishment. Many have been in disrepair for many, many years and beginning with the next budget cycle, and getting approval to use (Community Development Block Grant) funding, we will move toward demolishing more dangerous structures in the city."
Camden said that by eliminating the dangerous and unsightly structures, it will create more green spaces in the city, as well as open up the opportunity for redevelopment.
He said don't expect it to be a quick process, however.
"The process is quite extensive to make sure due diligence is provided," he said.
Planning and Community Development Director Tim Polk said the city is creating "a dedicated pipeline of funds to go after these properties so we can eliminate slums and blight in our neighborhoods."
He said it also puts owners of abandoned properties on notice to take action themselves or the city will do it for them.
"They don't want liens on their properties so they are more likely once they get a notice of demolition to either make the repairs or have it torn down themselves," he said.
It's just more good news for village residents, who received word Wednesday that the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority approved spending $20,000 to begin painting some of the existing streetlight poles as part of a long-term plan to also eventually add more lights in the village.
With more people expected to come to the village as improvements continue, the village also is working with Realize Bradenton to use a pedicab system of transportation to bring visitors back and forth between downtown Bradenton, the village and the developing entertainment district near McKechnie Field.
Glen Cappetta, owner of Sun Ride Pedicab based on Siesta Key, is working with Realize Bradenton and the village to develop a potential route map, said Capetta.
"We share Realize Bradenton's vision at looking at unique and fun ways to not only provide transportation to Bradenton, but to bring some employment opportunities," he said. "I'm excited about this opportunity and to use our services in a very forward-looking way."
Sun Ride has worked with Realize Bradenton at its Blues Festival and Art Slam events. Cappetta said drivers work for tips and since they do travel on the roads, undergo training in how to deal with "irate and impatient drivers." However, primary travel routes from the village to downtown are not tenatively planned for the main traffic arteries, he said
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.