Neighbors tired of abandoned home

By Lindsey Gordon

Published 06/20 2014 10:25PM

Updated 06/24 2014 11:58AM

CHAMPAIGN – Wild animals call the attic and backyard of a house on West Bradley "home." The garage is falling apart and the backyard is like a forest. Neighbors are tired of looking at the home and want the city to deal with it.

"The backyard was a jungle and, like the guys across the street, says there's big animals: groundhogs, raccoons, everything taking up residence there," said William Duncan, who lives next door.

When Duncan moved to the 500-block of West Bradley Avenue, this house has already been sitting here vacant for years. He wants to bring up the look of the neighborhood and says it’s frustrating not being able to do anything. He’s called the city many times to get something done about the falling down garage and overgrown yard.

"Let the city take their course of action, which is a slow process," he said.

The city says the owner can’t be reached and the code violation notices pile-up on the door, so they’re limited to what they can do.

They have a “vacant nuisance” case on the property. Once it’s declared legally abandoned, the city will get the deed and decide what to do from there.

"Tear down the garage and then see what we can do. If the house is beyond repair, we can tear down the house possibly, but in this one we may be able to find somebody who wants to renovate it," said Tim Spear, a code compliance inspector from the city’s Neighborhood Services division.

Duncan would love to do something with the home.

"We'd do the same thing that we did with this and sell it and somebody else could move in and enjoy it rather than see it just go to waste."

He says his house was much like the one next door when he moved in.

"Uninhabitable. And we picked it up to fix it up and we have and now it's home," he said.

It will likely be months from now before that would be an option. For now, they just have to live with it and its animal inhabitants.

"We wait and deal with the jungle next door," he said.

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