|Courtesy photo sent by reader.|
Vacant and abandoned houses are a concern for all communities, regardless of size. But in a village, neglected properties can become a health hazard.
It appears one such home in Dorchester poses a real threat to human health due to its condition and the critters that now call it home. That's the charge of one reader who e-mailed us this week.
The e-mail sent to the Times reports that "feral cats, mice, and snakes" have recently been seen emerging from the longtime vacant property at 813 Jefferson Ave.
"This is a disease risk," the writer says.
This particular house has been the target of scorn for some time due to its prominent location on Dorchester's so-called "school street," also known as 9th Street. According to sources, the village government tried to demolish the structure a few years ago, but a judge intervened saying that "improvements were being made."
Now, years later, the house's chimney has collapsed and the roof is caving in.
"In recent months, cats and other animals have been seen emerging from the holes in the roof and snakes and mice have been seen in the tall grass," he wrote. "This is unfair to those who work hard to keep nice, maintained properties in Dorchester and it gives our awesome community a big black eye. Private property rights don't give you the right to ruin your neighbors' property values."
The Times can verify that the grass and weeds on this property is often as tall as one foot or higher, and that the structure is rapidly deteriorating, posing a threat to any children who might wander onto the property.
So what can be done?
The e-mailer says those who have health concerns about this house (or any other neglected properties) should call Public Health Solutions in Crete at (402) 826-3880 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The reader tell us: "Public Health Solutions is the public health district that oversees Saline County and the surrounding area. Callers can remain anonymous if they wish."