Neighbors Feel Ripple Effect of Condemnation Order

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Fitchburg: The condemnation of two apartment buildings in Fitchburg has had a ripple effect in the Allied Drive community.

The former residents of these two apartment buildings have been showing up in small numbers this week, to pick up their stuff and prepare to move on.

The buildings were condemned last week, but it's opened for a couple hours each day.

"Every day now we'll have an inspector there so if somebody needs to get their personal belongings or they've got a phone number, they can call us," says Fitchburg Building Inspector John Crook.

Crook says the deplorable conditions forced the city to condemn the buildings. He says the owners ignored a year's worth of violations, and essentially abandoned the property.

The owners, Roxanne LLC, were not available for comment.

The tenants only had two days notice, so many of them received a voucher for two weeks at a hotel.

Rita Adair is an Allied Drive Social Worker. She says people are taking their time finding new housing. "Right now they're still in the honeymoon phase. Everything's all good. But next week when their voucher is about to run out in two days and they haven't got a new apartment that's when it's going to go back in the crisis mode.

As for the buildings, Crook says they've already received interest from other landlords who want to fix them up, but thus far, no one has presented a plan that meets the city's standards.

"I don't know if they want to go to the extent that we want to, because this is not going to be a whitewash. These are going to be completely rehabbed, brand new units," says Crook.

The rest of the neighborhood is benefiting from the condemnation order as well. Landlords know Fitchburg won't put up with substandard living conditions.

"I know one landlord who has been doing it for the first time in a long time actually fixing up some things. So I think it is a huge wake up call," says Adair.

"People are well aware that they'd better follow our orders or we'll come after them with everything we got," says Crook.

Crook says if they don't have a solid offer on remodeling the buildings within 45 days the city will bulldoze the properties.

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