City Takes Responsibility For Sprucing Up Abandoned Homes

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(Photo Credit: Carl Stevens)

(Photo Credit: Carl Stevens)

420x316-grad-stevens1 Carl Stevens
Carl Stevens is an award-winning general assignment reporter for WBZ...
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BROCKTON (CBS) – Given the challenging economy, it’s not unusual for a city to be saddled with abandoned properties.  What is unusual, though, is what Brockton is doing to maintain these properties.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports:

One Brockton resident says for months she and her husband had been living next to an abandoned house occupied by a bunch of kids.

“The kids, when they were there, they spray painted all of the windows; and right on it, it said ‘Welcome to Hell’ in big orange letters. They damaged all the bushes, they just chopped everything. You know there was trash all over the place. It was just a nightmare,” the woman said.

That nightmare recently came to an end when the city of Brockton spruced up the abandoned property thanks to a relatively new abandoned property ordinance.

“We have a vacant building registry, and the first year is $150 and goes up $1,500 per year after 3 years. We take the money and put it into a reserve account and we fix up vacant properties in the city,” explained Jim Plouffe, a city building inspector in Brockton.

Plouffe said a lot of properties are owned by banks that pay property taxes, but do no maintenance.

The city is stepping in to prevent single properties from bringing down entire blocks.

“About 2 or 3 weeks ago it was completely overgrown and windows were broken open, so we did the landscaping and we hired a contractor to come in,” Plouffe said of one of the homes.

There are about 250 houses in Brockton’s vacant building registry, and it just started in March.  Plouffe estimates the number is actually around 1,000.  With the fund, the city of Brockton will be able to clean up some of those houses.


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