Demolition on Blighted Properties Set to Begin January 2017

With bidding currently underway on six blighted properties in the City of Pittsfield, demolition on these properties is scheduled to begin in January 2017.

The properties include the following locations in the city:

  • 193 Dewey Avenue
  • 538 Lakeway Drive
  • 266 Onota Street
  • 88 Robbins Avenue
  • 173 Robbins Avenue
  • 14-18 South Church St. 

The property list is based on input by the Building Inspectors, Fire, Health and Engineering departments. These departments are part of the city’s Code Enforcement Team, which meets once a month and also includes Community Development, Solicitor’s Office, and Purchasing. As part of the team’s ongoing effort to address blight, four properties were demolished this past June.

The demolitions are made possible through the city’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding which is administered by the Department of Community Development. The cost to demolish a residential property is estimated at $35,000 - $40,000 including required hazardous material assessment.  The anticipated cost of demolition for the six properties listed above is $200,000 with funding from CDBG along with additional grant funding of $45,000 from the Attorney General’s Abandoned Housing Initiative. The Attorney General’s grant will help cover a portion of the demolition costs for 193 Dewey Ave.  and 88 Robbins Ave.

“Demolition of a property is not a task the city takes lightly, however, the impact of blighted properties is far-reaching in our community. We know that business and neighborhood blight diminishes property values. Moreover, properties that have fallen into disrepair hurt neighborhood pride and provide a place for activity detrimental to our community’s well-being,” said Mayor Linda Tyer. “This is a crucial measure in helping to ensure our city provides a thriving quality of life for our residents and visitors, and is also a welcoming place for all those interested in our city.”

In many of these cases, there is a clear and present challenge to public safety.

“It’s important for the public to know the city is continually working on the many vacant properties that are problematic and continuing to set aside federal funds to deal with them. It’s unfortunate that some of these properties have to meet this demise, but it’s better in the long run for the health of the neighborhood and the city,” said Bonnie Galant, Community Development and Housing Program Manager.

Demolition becomes necessary after the city has exercised all available code enforcement and legal options, said Laura Mick, Community Development Specialist.

“While this may not be the perfect solution for some neighborhoods, it takes away the opportunity for crime and other negative impacting conditions to take root while opening the door for the possible reuse of these open space areas for community activities,” said Building Commissioner Gerry Garner.

“The city gives the owner every opportunity to do the right thing and maintain the property and then when there are continuous complaints and when public safety is an issue, it’s then about keeping the neighborhood safe,” Mick said.

“One of the properties has been on the list for over seven years. The owner is deceased and the property has been a target for vandalism and squatters. Community Development has paid to secure the property twice and for the safety of the community, it is our responsibility to demolish the property,” said Mick. Liens are placed on all the properties, with the exception of two on the list that are city owned. Those two properties are 538 Lakeway Drive, the former caretaker’s house by Onota Lake, and 193 Dewey Ave.

For more information, please contact Bonnie Galant at 413-499-9358.