COHOES - A vacant home located at 250 Saratoga Street is not only eyesore, but it's a danger, neighbors say. The white, two-story Victorian-style home sits in the middle of a neatly manicured residential street, but neighbors say it's a haven for rodents, transients and trash dumping.
"Who wants to live next to this? I mean, look at the trash. Look at the broken windows. The city just mowed the grass yesterday, after who knows how long. Something needs to be done about this place on a more permanent basis. We can't even sit outside for the smell. The raccoons and things have made a home there, not to mention the vagrants that come in and out. It's just not safe," says Jeffery Bagley, who lives two doors down from the property.
Cohoes Director of Building and Planning Melissa Ashline-Heil says the property is owned by a woman who no longer lives in the state of New York. She declined giving the woman's name, but says she abandoned the property years ago. The city has since been trying to track her down. Ashline-Heil says city officials can't just go into someone's property and make changes without notifying the homeowner.
"It's hard. We're working out hardest to find her and notify her of what's going on, so we can start planning a next move. We can't just make changes to her property. She still technically owns the place. We want to do what's best for all parties involved."
Until the homeowner is located, city officials say they will continue to maintain the lawn, and add the cost to what's already owed to the city by the homeowner.