NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The city of North Las Vegas is moving to eliminate neighborhood eyesores.
Bulldozers are destroying abandoned, boarded-up houses that are magnets for crime, fires and squatters. They are vacant and abandoned properties.
"They were bad, bad shape, trash, debris, old mattresses," said Greg Blackburn the Director of North Las Vegas Community Development.
At least 20 of these properties in North Las Vegas are finally being torn down, and Blackburn is leading the demolitions.
"They're nuisances, which means they are a place where an undesired element will go and hang out," Blackburn said. "So we get calls from neighbors and we get calls from the police saying 'Hey, we keep getting called out to this property. Is there something you can do?'"
According to code enforcement, 150 calls were made to police about 10 of the homes.
Tom Martens, who’s in charge of the department, says one empty lot off Lake Mead and Martin Luther King Boulevards was once an illegal dumping ground.
"Typically you find used articles of clothing, bedding, mattresses, drug paraphernalia, you name it, human waste, large amounts of human waste, just very unsanitary," Martens said.
Next on the demolition list is a home on East Tonopah, which has caught fire three times. It’s not just a fire hazard. It’s also an eyesore for the neighbors.
"I think it's great. It will improve the value of homes if anybody is trying to sell," said Christine Barbrick, who lives next door to the run-down property.
A Federal Grant will pay for the demolitions. "We're not putting any burden on the taxpayer," Blackburn said. While a federal grant paid for the demolition of 20 homes, the city will keep financing in place by placing liens on the empty lots. Then the lots will eventually go up auction and the money generated will be used to demolish more abandoned homes.
Eliminating eyesores is a relief to homeowners and a welcome move to keep out those who don't belong in the neighborhood.