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Abandoned buildings will no longer be blight

URBANA -- Some say these boarded up apartments have a lot of bad history.
URBANA -- Some say these boarded up apartments have a lot of bad history. Neighbors hope they'll be knocked down soon. The Lierman Apartments have been empty for more than a year.

Neighbors say they bring nothing but trouble. Monday night, the city council discussed taking over the property. WCIA-3's Jessica Shaw has more.

If they city gets it, the apartments would be demolished. That looks like the plan. They're currently condemned. Neighbors say they're beyond fixing, and an empty lot would be better than what's there now.

"It's been deserted."

This is the view from Lizza Carter's home.

"It looks like a bomb hit it. We've just been deserted."

A chain link fence, overgrown weeds, boarded-up doors and windows... The first building was shut down in 2011. The owner was ordered to knock it down, but that never happened.

Now, all eight sit empty. It would be bearable if that's all they did, but neighbors say the buildings fill the street with problems.

"If you're a kid, you wake up and see boarded-up buildings. I don't think your mind is too tough to go to school."

"It's sort of a perfect storm for dangerous criminal behavior."

Robin Arbiter is on the Lierman Neighborhood Action Committee. The group has been working to turn things around. She says Urbana's demolition plan is a good one.

"We need a place that says, 'you're welcome,' and if we can build that in, it's a good asset to the community."

For families here, it'll be a step in the right direction.

"To wake up and see it come down, I'm going to shout, 'Hallelujah!'"

Neighbors hope the area will become a park or more affordable housing.
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