Salt Lake City orders vacant Ballpark homes to be demolished after string of fires

One of the burned-down, vacant homes set to the demolished on Major Street in Salt Lake City. Photo: Kim Bojorquez

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced an emergency order Tuesday to demolish four vacant homes in the city’s Ballpark neighborhood after a recent string of fires engulfed some of the properties.

Driving the news: In the last two weeks, multiple fires have been started on some of the boarded homes on Major Street, troubling local residents and businesses.

  • Salt Lake City Fire Department said the causes are still under investigation, per FOX 13.

Details: Mendenhall told Axios the homes are unsafe for habitation and meet the criteria for demolition.

  • She noted the homes are a “risk to public health” and threaten surrounding neighborhoods.
  • “They are banned from occupancy, but they’ve continued to become occupied,” she said.
  • The property owner of the four properties has 10 days to demolish the homes, which have sat boarded up and vacant for years.

What they’re saying: “If they are not demolished by Dec. 23, then the city will do the demolition and bill them for all of our costs,” Mendenhall said.

  • “I think the neighbors will be really pleased that these structures that have caused a nuisance for a long time will no longer be here,” said Antonio Padilla, civil enforcement manager for Salt Lake City.

Between the lines: Ballpark residents have long sounded the alarm of the neighborhood’s safety and crime issues such as drug use to city leaders.

The bottom line: Amy J. Hawkins, chair of the Ballpark Community Council, told Axios she’s glad the city is taking action.

Yes, but: Hawkins criticized leaders for not communicating with neighbors about the city’s strategy to make the area safer.

  • “We want to see the situation resolved for the safety of everybody,” she said. “Treat us like part of the solution.”

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