Leesburg Demolishes Abandoned Houses to Help Make Neighborhoods Safer

It took the City of Leesburg less than ten minutes Wednesday morning to destroy an abandoned ramshackle house and greatly improve one downtown neighborhood.
Posted Date:8/30/2012 4:30 PM
It took the City of Leesburg less than ten minutes Wednesday morning to destroy an abandoned ramshackle house and greatly improve one downtown neighborhood. 

A mechanical excavator quickly ripped apart the crumbling, wood-sided house at 816 Washington Street - the latest of several badly aged properties the city removed in voluntary cooperation with owners to combat urban blight, deter criminal activity and remove a safety hazard for residents. Leesburg has demolished four houses so far this year, and one more at 130 S. East St. is planned this week. 

“This is the city working in partnership with our community and residents to make Leesburg asafer and more aesthetically beneficial place – to get rid of blighted properties that have been in disrepair for years,” said Leesburg City Commissioner John Christian. 
The Washington Streethouse originally was built in 1932 and has not been occupied in years. The thin metal roof was largely rusted and the windows covered with wooden boards.Leesburg recently contacted the owner, who requested help to avoid dealing with costly improvements and potential code enforcement concerns. 

Grand Island-based Greenwood& Son Contracting knocked down the house and quickly hauled away the debris to a construction landfill. Metal, concrete and other materials will be recycled. The cost to demolish the distressed houses averages about $3,000. 
“I think it’s a great thing to get rid of the eyesore – it also will be a lot safer now,” said resident Johnny Stinson, whose 92-year-old grandmother lives across the street. “Children play out here all the time.” 

Leesburg is a progressive city of more than 20,000 residents in northwest Lake County. The city government serves twice as many people with its electric, gas, water, wastewater and fiber-optic public utilities. Leesburg also is a central hub for commerce, attracting 50,000 people to work each weekday.