MODESTO (CBS13) – Residents say a blight clean up effort of dilapidated homes in Modesto is making a big impact.

City crews boarded up a vacant foreclosed fourplex on Roselawn Avenue several times. After someone broke in and torched the place, the city once again stepped in — using cash from the abatement fund. The fire-gutted trouble spot is now gone.

“We can come in and demolish it because of the safety, little kids running around the neighborhood, we felt pertinent to do that,” Chief Building Official Will Crew said.

The program started with $50,000 of general fund cash. Collecting penalty fees, fines and liens from banks and property owners has more than quadrupled that number.

“So it’s a self supporting fund that doesn’t need general fund money participation,” said Crew.

People living next to other eyesores are pleased the program is proving to be successful.

George Silva watched a vacant storage shed go up in flames a few doors down.

He’s hopeful the city will continue to intervene when property owners fail to keep squatters out.

“It’s good, when you go inside the house, it’s all teared up. It’s all dirty, the carpets all messed up, holes in the wall,” said Silva.

The city has a complaint line residents can call. For more information, visit the Modesto city website.


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