Neighbors Want Boarded-Up Home Removed

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - Our 'Fighting for You' stories have gotten cities and counties in North Alabama to remove abandoned homes or at least make someone clean up the property outside. One Huntsville man wonders if WHNT NEWS 19 can get the city to knock down a home in his neighborhood. James Ponder has watched the home fall apart for 10 years.

One other person who lives next to the home believes it's one of the worst looking in Huntsville. WHNT NEWS 19 checked it out. The home has boarded up windows, broken windows and is surrounded by clutter. The folks WHNT NEWS 19 talked to want the city to do something about the home.

Ponder has looked at the house on Sparkman Drive many times over the years. One more look gives him the same thought as the others.

"This is a disgrace for the neighborhood and community. It's an eyesore," said Ponder.

He lives around the corner from the home, but has been a part of the neighborhood since the 1960s.

"We have tried to get something done with the house to no avail," said Doris DeFloreo.

DeFloreo has lived next door to the home 15 years. She believes it's been vacant more than a decade.

"It makes our property look bad. It makes me feel bad for the whole neighborhood to see this eyesore," added Ponder.

DeFloreo and Ponders' push to get rid of the home marked with a 'Do Not Occupy' poster is about pride and community.

"It goes through my mind that this is an entrance to this community and this neighborhood. What must other people think," stated Ponder.

Ponder told WHNT NEWS 19 he called the city of Huntsville and Huntsville Utilities to get the house fixed or its property cleaned. The attempts to get it done failed.

"I thought well, if not city, then who. Who could take care of this? Who could get something done on it? That's why I called Channel 19," stated Ponder.

WHNT NEWS 19 stepped in to help.

"It's embarrassing because the grass will only get higher.  They won't cut it anytime soon," added Ponder.

WHNT NEWS did some digging and found out Howard Ross with Wall to Wall Properties bought the Sparkman Dr. property in 2011. WHNT NEWS 19 called Ross to get his take.

"Uh, we have some interest in it. May I ask what the concern is," Ross said over the phone.

The Madison County Tax Collector's Office gave Ross a certificate proving the purchase. The probate judge's office will issue a property deed to Ross in 2014.

Ross told WHNT NEWS 19 he does not plan to fix up anything at the property on Sparkman Dr. until he gets the property deed. It sounds like Ponder and DeFloreo will have to hang on a little longer.