BRADENTON -- The city of Bradenton is about spend almost $86,000 to tear down nine abandoned and unsafe houses in the city.
The city council this week awarded a demolition contract to USA Fence.Planning and Community Development Director Tim Polk said the work should begin soon.
"On Monday, we'll sit down with the contractor and set a priority list," said Polk. "I believe all nine have gone through the required process and are ready to go."
The city is using federal Community Development Block Grants to pay for the work.Since CDGB funds are federal dollars, Polk said the process can be longer to ensure the city does its due diligence in taking a number of steps under both federal and state requirements.
Some of those steps include ensuring none of the homes have historical significance and that the property owner has had every opportunity to repair or demolish the homes themselves.
"We can't deny due process," Polk said. "We have to give them the time to cure non-compliant issues, but the bottom line is if they don't do it, we'll do it for them."
The council in March 2014 adopted an unsafe structure ordinance. Polk said there were about six houses demolished in the first year of the ordinance using CDGB funds.
He added the ordinance serves a dual purpose.
"The goal is to remove these structures because they are unsafe and can be used for criminal activity, but it also meets the goal of removing slum and blight," he said. "It's not a bad problem in the city but there are areas that are more prevalent than others. It's important to remove these structures out of those neighborhoods. It can get pretty frustrating for the residents, who are in a position of not being able to do anything about these structures next door to them."
There are limitations to CDGB funding and not all abandoned structures qualify. For example, Polk said CDGB funds cannot be used to tear down homes in flood-prone areas like the Historic Ware's Creek neighborhood.
Poperties being targeted in the latest round of demolition are:
1118 Fourth Ave. E.
810 21st. St. E.
612 12th Ave. W.
1303 17th St. W.
1519 Ninth Ave. W.
2210 10th St. W.
2207 11th St. W.
311 10th Ave. Drive E.
1536 Seventh Ave. E.
Mark Young, Herald urban affairs reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041 or follow him on Twitter@urbanmark2014.