Lemay neighbors: Improvement project turning ugly

ST. LOUIS - It's a non-profit organization dedicated, in part, to getting rid of blight in Lemay, but some neighbors say it's actually created it.

The Lemay Housing Partnership is building 50 new, single-family homes in the next year and a half. Neighbors say they like the idea, but a hiccup in the process has left a mess.

"What I just got through doing is my driveway, I had to put a sealer on there, I'm glad I got that done," Wayne Owens said.

Owens always has a project going to beautify his home, so it's hard to get used to this reaction.

"You got people coming down these streets all the time going, 'oh my God, this is terrible,'" said Owens.

The passersby are referring to the house next door to Owens' on the corner of Joplin Avenue and East Holden.

"Do they think Hoosiers live around here or something?" Owens asked. "The reason they're not tearing it down, I don't know."

They refers to the Lemay Housing Partnership. The community housing development organization bought this house and another one doors down on East Holden as part of a larger plan to buy old properties and replace them with new, affordable single-family homes.

About three months ago, "They started tearing it apart and they got so far with it and then something happened, now they're gone," Owens said.

"It's an inconvenience, I'm not arguing that at all," said Reginald Scott, executive director of Lemay Housing Partnership.

Scott said a bad demolition contractor had to be fired mid contract and because the multi-million dollar project is paid for with federal and local grant money, choosing a new contractor means starting the bid process all over again.

Five on Your Side found out the new contractor started Monday.

"We will prioritize those partially demolished structures so as to eliminate the blight and eyesore," Scott said.

There are seven houses total left by the original contractor. The new contractor has two months to clean up the mess.

The first contractor hasn't been paid for the unfinished work, and lawyers are involved to make sure your tax money isn't wasted on his mistakes.


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