Rockford Ranks 66 Houses To Demolish


Condemned homes are a common sight across the Forest City.  But, Rockford leaders are working on a list to tear them down, one at a time.

“They should’ve been torn down,” said resident Larry Johnson.  “I don’t know what they’re waiting for.  They got to go, bottom line.”

Johnson is referring to two burned out homes on Maple Street. One of them burned down back in October. Investigators believe it was due to arson.

“They [were] nice houses,” said Johnson. “I wish somebody would’ve bought them and did something with them.”

The Maple Street homes are on a list of 66 houses across the city up for demolition.  Rockford Building Code Official Thaddeus Mack said they’ll be among the first to come down.  Mack says the houses are ranked.  Those rankings are based on several conditions, including the property’s condition or it’s unsecure.  Mack says one of the goals of the demolition list is to improve the neighborhoods and residents have been a big part of that process.

“We have some neighbors more vocal than others on wanting to get some of these houses down,” said Mack.

One of them is Annabelle Ellis.  She’s lived on Lapp Court for 50 years.  She lives across the street from a boarded up home. Ellis says it’s a magnet for unusual activity and she would like to see it go.

“I sit on the porch and have to look at that,” said Ellis. “People go behind the trees and urine and stuff like that.  I have to see all that.”

As for what will be built in place of all the properties demolished is still unknown.  Johnson walks down Maple St. often and says he would like to see something productive done with the area.

“Keep the grass cut, that would be nice, or put a garden there,” said Johnson.

The blight list still needs the city council’s approval first.  They’re set to vote on it June 5th.  If they approve it, demolitions can begin.

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