There are hundreds of them throughout the city. And they aren't just eyesores. City officials say vacant homes are hotbeds for crime and lately have been targeted for arson. We have an update on the effort to get rid of them.
They are coming down around the city.
"The number one call I get from our residents is when is this house going to be torn down, it's been boarded up for a number of years, children are playing in these unsafe houses," says Lovely Warren of the Rochester City Council.
Since January of 2006, 410 vacant homes have been demolished in
"The residences here had to live next to a decrepit run down property and these properties are hot beds for drugs and prostitution for crimes, they tear down neighborhoods, they destroy property values," says Mayor Duffy.
Drugs aren't the only issue. Many of these vacant homes have been targeted by arsonists.
"Many of them in the Northeast have been set on fire in the last couple of months as we know, so it's been hard for our firefighters as well, because they don't know what they are walking into," says Warren.
As the city celebrates what they've accomplished so far in demolishing these vacant homes the work continues. A home on North Street is under demolition today. Soon it will look like this lot here at 52 Niagara Street; this is expected to be bought by a neighbor so he can expand his own yard.
"This case on Niagara Street; we have an owner who has put in a proposal to buy this property to have it for a garden, a green space for he and his family," says Duffy.
On average - it costs the city 14 thousand dollars to tear down each home...a price worth the cost for neighbors hoping a little green grass can flush out a few bad weeds.
"The community really does need new houses and the old ones did need to come down because a lot of bad things can happen in them," says neighbor Timothy Fowler.
260 more vacant houses are scheduled to be demolished in the next year.