After years of being the neighborhood dumping ground, the property at 1612 Adams Street has finally been cleaned up.
On Friday, December 13, crews hired by GMAC Mortgage LLC, which owns the property, cleaned out the bottles, wrappers and trash that had been strewn across the back lawn and side alley of the property.
“That’s been on our radar for three years now,” said local resident Joe Bombace. “That address will always stick out in my mind. It’s been an ongoing problem. The alleyways and sidewalks are dovered with trash. When I pass that street, the sanitation summonses issued against the property look like wallpaper.”
For years John Fratta, district manager of Community Board 11, has pushed GMAC and the city Department of health to clean the property, but to little avail.
“The health department was not responsive. They were baiting for rodents, but if you don’t take the food source away, the rats continue to multiply,” Fratta said. “It was a heath hazard and a fire hazard. There was so much garbae that if a fire started, that whole block would have gone up.”
Fratta contacted Senator Jeff Klein, who launched an investigation and contacted the owner of the property. GMAC quickly responded to clean the property.
“GMAC strives to maintain and uphold all its properties,” said Jim Olecki, a spokesman for the mortgage company. “It needed to be cleaned. After we were contacted, we reacted with urgency. We wanted to work with Klein’s office to get the property into compliance.”
According to Olecki, the mortgage company foreclosed on the property in June of this year. However, the tenants have not been evicted yet.
Gaining access to the yard portion of the property had been a major effort. The yard is 25 feet below street level and the tenant would not give the bank permission to enter the property, Olecki said.
After being notified about the poor conditions, GMAC entered the property and cleaned to the lawn, as well as an adjacent property, which is not owned by GMAC, Olecki said.
“As we do with all of our properties, we will try to maintain this and the adjacent property that was also cleaned,” he said.
Maintaining the property will bring the mortgage company into compliance with the property maintenance legislation proposed by Klein, that was signed into law last year. The law requires lending institutions to maintain foreclosed properties.
“Abandoned properties cause not only financial, but emotional harm to our communities and neighborhoods,” Klein said. “For more than two years I fought for laws – now in effect – that would protect neighborhoods from exactly this problem. I encourage all residents in my district to contact my office if you are living with a property like this on your street.”