City Responds To Complaints, Demolishes Vacant Homes

By Mike Schuh

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Responding to complaints, the city is targeting vacant homes to demolish.

Mike Schuh reports on the success of one community in Northeast Baltimore.

Residents have told City Hall to do something about vacant, decrepit homes that are eyesores in their neighborhoods.

Although the city pulls down 500 vacant homes a year, some are getting special attention because their removal will help many nearby homeowners like Lula and Linda Terry.

“We just want to thank God for making this possible,” Linda Terry said.

She and her mom, Lula, have endured two decades with vacant apartments that leak water into their home next door.

“Been here 30 years ago. Husband died 20 years ago and I’m still there and today I’m going to stay there,” Lula Terry said.

She’s filled with joy because the city, under its Vacants To Value Program began demolition Monday.

“Today we begin eliminating a blight that has devastated this community. It’s a towering omnipresent monument to Urban Decay,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

Under the plan, building owners are forced to fix or sell. There are incentives to rehabilitation but if that fails, there’s demolition.

That’s fine with Lula Terry.

“And as old as I am, I tell everyone I don’t want to live in no garbage can,” she said.

Because the apartment, already crumbling, is so close to wires, the street and other buildings, it’s coming down by hand.