BRADENTON -- A demolition crew went to work tearing down an abandoned house at 2215 20th Ave. W. on Wednesday and heavy equipment was still at work Thursday ripping out the foundation.
It was the second abandoned house torn down in recent weeks under the city's unsafe structure ordinance, which passed through the Bradenton City Council this year. The first house was a burned-out shell in the Village of the Arts
"More are coming," said Tim Polk, the city's planning and community development director."
The city began to identify the most unsafe homes within the city and created a priority list consisting of more than 30 structures. Polk said the home on 20th Avenue West was beyond simple repairs and represented a significant danger to the community.
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"The house was at the point where we get concerned about it catching fire, someone trying to squat there and having the roof fall in on them and even the possibility of a sexual predator trying to use it as a means to pull in a child," said Polk.
Every effort is made to contact and convince the owner to bring the property into compliance. Polk said that strategy has worked with about 10 percent to 15 percent of owners taking steps to repair their properties before the city began the demolition process.
But that still leaves more than two dozen abandoned houses that are endangering residents. With general funds and community development block-grant funding, Polk said the city will move forward to take down the remaining unsafe structures.
Ingrid Forbes lives next door to the property on 20th Avenue West and said she was glad to see it go.
"It was unsightly and overgrown," said Forbes. "This is an old neighborhood and people have lived here for a very long time, but by no means do we want anything around that is going to make it look more run down than what it is."
Forbes, who has lived next door for seven years, said she believes the property was abandoned in 2012 after the family was told they had to move and the house, built in 1962, was subsequently condemned. She said it hadn't reached the point of being vacant where it was attracting rodents or other wildlife and there were no signs of homeless people trying to use it as shelter, "but we were wondering when those things might happen and we were just hoping something would be done before it did."
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter @urbanmark2014.