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Freeport Takes Back Neighborhoods One Demolition at a Time

City crews demolish the first in a series of abandoned homes throughout Freeport.

FREEPORT- Demolition crews take down an abandoned property in the 600 block of South Miami Avenue. The destruction is symbolic of a new commitment by the City of Freeport to take back its neighborhoods.

Mayor Jim Gitz says abandoned homes are unsafe and an invitation to crime.

"We’ve appropriated $100,000 dollars in our budget, which is a drop in the bucket, but it's the greatest commitment that has been made by the city to date in demolitions," explained Mayor Gitz.

The Public Works Department hopes to have 10 to 15 of these blighted homes taken down by winter.

"We have a quite a list of these properties to take down. And we like to do them with the Public Works Department in order to save money and expedite the process," said Director of Public Works Tom Dole.

While the demolitions take place the city will also crack down on housing that's not up to code. Meanwhile, city council members are working on creating an ordinance that will require landlords to register with the city.

"The hardest part about this whole situation, when you get down to it, is that fact that on foreclosures and stuff the banks don't take them back. So they many times they leave the people in the middle of this and it is very hard to get everything together legally," said First Ward Alderman Tom Klemm.

Despite the legal obstacles Freeport city leaders hope to demolish every single abandoned home within the next two years.

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