Bangor City Council strives to take back abandoned houses

7:43 AM, Feb 26, 2014   |    comments
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BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER)-- Bangor City Council said enough is enough Wednesday. with the abandoned properties around the city.  Due to an outdated policy, city council would not aggressively pursue abandoned properties. Legal complications slowed down the process even more.

"It is pretty bad. We see homeless people living behind it, we see stray animals. And it is an eyesore," said Bobby Bledsoe, a property owner on both Court and Larkin Streets.

From the graffiti to the general lack of maitnenace, the abandoned houses and vacant lots aren't saying "home sweet home Bangor."

Bangor City Council is taking action with a long time abandoned house on Court Street as well as a vacant lot on Larkin Street. Neither property has paid taxes for years, the property owners are long gone, said the city.

"Obviously the people who have it don't care about it," Bledsoe said.

Neighbors are considering how to put the properties to good use to improve the city and neighborhood.  

"If it was up to me, I would turn that property into a men's recovery home," Bledsoe said.

Lee Vozel, a resident of Larkin Street, said, "Maybe we should have this property for children, maybe a fenced in playground or maybe a community garden - something to draw the neighbors closer to one and other."

The efforts started in December when city council seized properties of First Street. The city will either salvage, demolish or sell the properties. Knowing that, neighbors said they are looking forward to the coming changes.

Bangor City Council said it is part of the concil's duties to clean up the abandoned properties and have safe neighborhoods. City Council Member Ben Sprague said council is already negotiating sales of both properties with potential buyers. Sprague also said while council is not looking to seize anyone's home, he does hope this sends a message to property owners to pay their property taxes.

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