Dozens of Waterbury residents held a meeting Thursday night and demanded the city to get involved in cleaning up their neighborhood.
The dozens of abandoned homes in the Willow Plaza Neighborhood have been more than just an eyesore. Willow Plaza includes 45 abandoned houses in a radius less than three miles.
“It’s disgusting, it really is,” explained Cynthia Robinson of Waterbury. She lives by a few of them on Elmwood Avenue, and says she has had enough. “You’re scared to come home at night. You don't know whose coming at you out of these abandoned buildings,” Robinson said.
Robinson told NBC Connecticut the homes are not just an invitation for criminals. The dilapidated buildings are hurting property values. “I'm just done. I’m tired," she said. I want to sell my house, but I know if I sell it, what am I going to get, $45,000?”
The community faced the mayor Thursday night and demanded change.
“This neighborhood is probably in one of the worst states it’s ever been in,” Mayor Neil O’Leary explained. He said plans were in the works to clean up the mess absentee landlords left behind. “This is one of our top priorities right now,” O’Leary said.
The mayor said some abandoned homes would be leveled in the next few weeks. The goal is to find new owners for all the nuisance properties in the coming months, owners that will help this neighborhood flourish.
“Proof is in the pudding… you can talk the talk if you can walk the walk, that's what it boils down to,” said Robinson.
After nearly a decade of dealing with this, neighbors just need their quality of life to improve.