Chris Rosario, the city’s director of Anti-Blight Neighborhood Revitalization, has kicked into overdrive shepherding a team of city departments working in earnest to clean up numerous city eyesores, the latest a garbage-marred lot at 848 Maplewood Avenue next to Bryant School near the location where a three-year-old girl was shot walking with her mother this spring. The lot is tracking to become a housing development for Habitat for Humanity.
Former City Councilman Joel “Speedy” Gonzalez (who provides narration) shared a video he took on Tuesday of city Department of Public Works crews cleaning the messy lot on Maplewood Avenue that had been a scar on the West Side for years.
According to the Commercial Recording Division of the Connecticut Secretary of the State’s Office, Maplewood Associates LLC, with an address in Storrs Connecticut, was the owner. Eric G. Phelps of Fairfax Station VA was listed as manager of the LLC. City land records show the limited liability company had owned the property since 2007 and did not make a tax payment in 2011 with $2,093.78 owed in back taxes including $221.76 in interest.
Rosario says the city recently took ownership of the property after a foreclosure process that began in the spring. Rosario works in conjunction with team members of an inspection services committee, ordered by Mayor Bill Finch, including several city departments such as police, fire, housing, health, zoning and public works that identifies properties, tracks down owners, orders clean up action and if necessary foreclosure procedures. “We pressure owners to turn around the properties,” says Rosario. “You have to stay in people’s faces,” adding that the property eyesores contribute to crime and drug activity.
In some extreme circumstances the city will clean up the lot and charge the property owner for the cost. Other times, says Rosario, pressure from the city forces property owners to clean up their act.
Rosario says he anticipates the Maplewood Avenue property will be transferred into the hands of Habitat for Humanity within 60 days, with City Council approval. Rosario says several other eyesore properties in the city are also slated for renewal.