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Furry squatters about to lose their home

Published: Sat, October 3, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.



The inhabitants of 52 Seventh St. in Campbell aren’t going to be happy when their house is torn down, but they’re the only ones who will be sorry to see it go.

Several of them congregated on the front steps and in the doorway at the house last week, innocent of what’s to come.

Their neighbor, David Green, hopes the house isn’t demolished on top of them.

“There’s some kittens in there, and the momma’s there, too,” he said.

There are also some stray cats in the garage, he said, and though he’s been feeding the kittens, he can’t catch them.

“They run from me,” he said.

They’ll have to run fast to escape the wrecking ball as 52 Seventh St. comes down this fall. It’s one of 13 in the first batch of 137 abandoned houses and commercial buildings in Campbell to be demolished.

Aside from the occasional worries about some four-footed neighbors, many people in Campbell are looking forward to removal of the blight that’s detracting from their own properties by drawing pests, trash and vandals.

With $727,000 in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds allotted for the Campbell properties, Mahoning County is on track to begin the demolitions soon, confirmed Anna DeAscentis, grants manager for the county commissioners.

All Excavating Inc. of Youngstown was the apparent low bidder at a bid opening for the first 13 properties Sept. 17. The company bid $32,700.

The contract has not been awarded yet, DeAscentis said.

On the bid form, the county specifies that all the work is to be finished and sites restored within 45 days of the authorization to proceed.

The demolitions include removing and disposing of debris and filling in basements.

On Devitt Avenue, Antoinette Cimmento and Mary Lee Frangos can’t wait.

“It’s been 28 years of my life,” said Cimmento, about living next to abandoned 505 Devitt.

After the homeowner died, the house was left to a relative who didn’t want anything to do with it, she said.

It was left to deteriorate for nearly three decades, though she and Frangos, who owns rental property on the street, tried to keep the yard clean.

“I cleaned that property up for 28 years,” she said. “There’s been animals living in it. Rats and stuff.

“The kids wrote nasty words on it,” said Cimmento. “They must be doing it at night.”

Frangos said that at different times through the years, she tried to buy the house. At first she was told it would be in a sheriff’s auction, she said, but then discovered it was bundled in with other properties in a tax lien sale.

She said that she’s tried to buy it from different companies, but they wanted too much money for it.

“That house is falling in,” she said. “There’s holes in the roof.”

The Mahoning County Auditor’s Web site indicates 505 Devitt has been owned since 2005 by Endeavor Real Estate Fund, LLC in Hauppague, N.Y.

There are delinquent property taxes in the amount of $1,858.

“It’s still a nice neighborhood on Devitt,” Frangos said. “It just runs down our property — a hindrance to anybody that lives here.”


First 13 demolitions

The first 13 of 137 abandoned properties in Campbell to be demolished with Neighborhood Stabilization Funds will come down this fall.

25 Second St.

2852 Wilson Ave.

52 Seventh St.

167 Monroe St.

113 Jefferson St.

98 Jefferson St.

23 12th st.

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