Neighbors concerned about problem property near Downtown

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Neighbors say it’s been a problem property for years and the city needs to do something about it.

KRQE News 13 spoke with the city and the property owner to find out what’s taking so long to clean it up.

The vacant home on Third Street SW near the Rail Yards is littered with trash, marked with graffiti and looking pretty rickety after a fire scorched most of the roof.

Neighbors are tired of it.

“The look of it couldn’t be any worse. I thought it was bad before and then it caught on fire,” said Nevil Benard.

The house is boarded up, but neighbors still have concerns about squatters and people just dumping their trash there.

“We have to keep an eye on it all the time because of, I guess the wanderers. There’s a lot of drug use and stuff.

“So, people go in there and hide in there and do drugs or whatever,” Benard said.

Benard is one of many neighbors who has taken these concerns to the city.

“We’ve heard the same thing every year for the past three years, so I wouldn’t hold your breath,” he said.

KRQE News 13 spoke with Brennon Williams with the city’s Planning Department.

“We’ve had significant communication with neighbors as to what’s going on what needs to be done,” Williams said.

He said the city has been working on the issue ever since the vacant house caught on fire in October 2014.

“The process does take a long time, and it takes a long time on purpose. I mean, we’re talking about knocking somebody’s home down,” Williams said.

He said the housing code requires the city to give property owners at least a year to take care of it themselves.

If nothing happens, like in this case, the city can take action.

“We’re going to move forward with the request to condemn the house and knock it down,” Williams said.

He said City Council is expected to vote on it early next month.

If approved, the eyesore could be gone as early as this summer.

“I hope they do something with it. It’s about time,” Benard said.

However, he’s not getting too excited just yet.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Benard said.

The property owner, Gina Prieskorn-Thomas, said she plans to demolish the house on her own before the end of next month. If she does, then the city won’t have to worry about it.

The city said anyone concerned about a problem property in their neighborhood can call 311 or report it to the Planning Department.

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