Cambridge Focusing on Blighted Properties in 2017 - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cambridge Focusing on Blighted Properties in 2017

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One of many demolition signs in Cambridge (Photo:WBOC) One of many demolition signs in Cambridge (Photo:WBOC)

CAMBRIDGE, Md.-  There are several blighted properties around Cambridge.  Buildings neglected with thousands of dollars in repairs and fines stacked against them.

Tony Thomas, owner of Canvasback Restaurant, says his customers notice the crumbling properties.

"There isn't a day that goes by where we don't have a customer asking what happened to these buildings.  Why isn't it being fixed up?  They come here for years and the same buildings are not being fixed up whatsoever," said Thomas.

Around town you will see demolition signs on properties.  One home on Academy Street has had the sign for four years.  It turns out demolition can take a lot longer than you would expect.  Public Works Director Odie Wheeler says the process begins due to delinquent taxes and unpaid fines.

"We get to the court system and get it elevated to a demolition order.  It's a lengthy process.  It could take a year, sometimes two years," said Wheeler.

That allows time for the property owner to make back payments and resolve the issue.  Now, the city is looking to increase the budget for demolitions from $23,000 to $40,000 for the next year.

"We can move forward and get some of these properties demolished and hopefully put a rise on the tax base in the city by getting rid of some of these properties," said Wheeler.

Using the $23,000 for demolitions last year, six buildings were taken down. Twenty-nine additional buildings were demolished by people who bought these properties at tax sale.

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