Condemned homes in Cudell raise concerns for residents

CLEVELAND - A series of blighted homes in Cleveland’s Cudell neighborhood continue to wither away.

While one of the vacant properties located on West 98th Street should be demolished within the next 30 days, the future for another dilapidated structure one block over remains unknown.

The once proud, two-story home in the 9600 block of Larnder Avenue is a charred husk of its former self. The fascia has rotted away. There are holes in the roof. What used to be windows are now just pairs of hollow eyes. 

Even the plywood put up by city inspectors is beginning the show its age. 

“I've lived here for 35 years and my mom has lived here for 50 years,” neighbor Tammie Thompson said. “I knew the people that lived in the house. I’ve been here a long time. I’ve seen people come and go. Then, it burned up and it’s been sitting here for two years.”

They home will likely sit even longer. According to public records, the owner on record died early last year. Even in the years prior to his death, the property continued to accrue unpaid property taxes, water liens and unpaid code enforcement liens. According to property records, the property owner owes more than $12,000.

The property is also in foreclosure, according to the assessor’s office. However, the bank has not taken possession of the property.

While the property remains in legal limbo, neighbors said it has been a target for vandals. It has also been set on fire twice, according to Thompson.

“There are dead animals under there now,” Thompson said. “You can see them at night climbing the side of the house and into the windows. It's ridiculous. We've called the city. We've called the councilmen. Everybody keeps telling us the bank owns it. The bank tells us the owners own it. They keep giving us the run around."

Out of an abundance of caution, neighbor Orlando Pace said he doesn’t allow his children anywhere around the property.
               
“If they do something with it like tear it down, build a new house or make it land space that would be good,” Pace said. “Something has to be done, something has to be done, something has to be done with that house.”

While the property on Larnder remains in limbo, the structure on West 98th St. will be demolished soon, according to Gus Fragos, the president and general counsel for the Cuyahoga County Land Reutilization Corporation. Frangos said the structure should have been demolished earlier this year but the contractor initially assigned to the project had issues in completing the job. The demolition has since been re-assigned to A&D Contracting.

“This company was the next lowest bidder on the job from the original bids,” Frangos said in an email. 

If the new contractor does not confirm that the price for demolition still stands, the project will be quickly put out for bid again.

“This will be a priority,” Frangos said.

This is part of News 5's 'Cleveland Abandoned' – a series like you’ve never seen on the state of vacant properties in Cleveland and how it impacts our city. This in-depth look will expose the scope and history of the problem. You will also hear from people and organizations working tirelessly to make their neighborhoods better. Lastly, “Cleveland Abandoned” will detail how we can work together to combat challenges, uncover solutions and improve our community.

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