Niagara Gazette

Local News

February 21, 2014

Niagara Falls City Council OKs contract to knock down 20 vacant, dilapidated homes

Council OKs contract to knock down 20 vacant, dilapidated homes

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — “You might see some in LaSalle with the next round with casino (revenues), but there’s less LaSalle demolitions,” Piccirillo said.

Dennis Virtuoso, the director of the city’s Inspections department, said his crew is constantly monitoring the state of vacant houses around the city.

“We usually try to do fire damaged properties first,” he said. “The most dangerous properties are those that are structurally unsound.”

Virtuoso said his department often has issues taking down properties that are privately owned because the owner has the right to attempt to fix the house and many cases end up in housing court where they can linger for years.

“The city-owned (houses) are easier to take down than privately owned,” Virtuoso said.

In addition, it is sometimes unclear who is responsible for upkeep on a house that has entered the foreclosure process, but hasn’t officially been taken by the lender.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced last week that he plans to introduce legislation that will hold lenders responsible for taking care of the so-called “zombie properties” earlier in the foreclosure process.

Virtuoso said he has no control over the court system, but he feels something should be done to fight the blight created by the court delays.

“That process has to be sped up somehow,” he said.

MAKING THE LIST City homes slated for demotion this year include: • 927 Center Ave. • 602 Niagara St. • 1500 Ontario Ave. • 515 Walnut Ave. • 528 10th St. • 2809 10th St. • 1310 18th St. • 1419 18th St. • 3227 Ely Ave. • 2928 Highland Ave. • 1311 Michigan Ave. • 1337 Ontario Ave. • 1121 Pierce Ave. • 1639 Weston Ave. • 1136 Willow Ave. • 414 Seventh St. • 414 1/2 Seventh St. • 432 Eighth St. • 412 10th St. • 144 56th St.

Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257

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