Neighbors look to preserve history as buildings deteriorate

Local

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Neighbors in the Ten Broeck neighborhood are frustrated that three historic homes are being torn down in their neighborhood, when they say the buildings could have been saved.

“You say that these buildings have to come down and I disagree with that concept. I don’t think that they have to come down. I think that they have to be cared for and the city has to prioritize preservation,” said neighbor Lee McCallister.

McCallister owns a plot of land on First Street, next to the demolition, where he gardens. He’s said he’s watched the buildings slowly deteriorate over the last several years. 

“If you have a derelict landlords, then you should set up a process where by that landlord is fined and put on notice and when those fines accumulate it enables the city to take over the building,” McCallister said.

Neighborhood Association President Matt Toporowski said he understands the structures have to come down. His central gripe is the lack of notice for the community.

“What we need to do is make sure that we can go after landlords that are not going to be taking care of these historic properties. I mean, I think that’s the takeaway. Otherwise, we have a situation like this,” Toporowski said.

Corporation Counsel Deputy Robert Magee said getting vacant properties into the Landbank hands, who sell them to responsible land owners, can take three years while buildings are foreclosed upon.

In that time, something like the situation on First Street can happen, and the city has to get involved.  

“When we’re looking at a building that an engineer is telling us is on the verge of falling we have to take action,” Magee said. 

The neighborhood association said they are going to continue have discussions about vacant buildings at their next meeting.

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