Orient Park home torn down in blight-removal project - WFLA News Channel 8

Orient Park home torn down in blight-removal project

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By Tbo.com

Hillsborough County tore down a home today to build up a community.

The county's code enforcement department has been conducting a sweep in Orient Park since April 2, identifying vacant, abandoned and generally trashy homes, said Carol Michel, spokeswoman for the county.

The sweep is part of a program called Operation Fight the Blight in which the code enforcement department identifies areas of blight in the county and cleans them up by writing code violations and condemning homes. Homes are torn down as funding allows.

The home at 6520 E. 26th Ave., which was torn down today, had been condemned.

The county will spend a month in Orient Park and has so far identified 21 homes to be listed for condemnation, said Bill Langford, a supervisor for the county's code enforcement department.

The impact on the community runs deeper than the removal of an ugly home, Langford said.

"It brings back a sense of pride, removes blight, criminal activity and vagrants," Langford said. "The community gets a feeling that government is here to help."

The program is funded through community development block grants.

The operation includes a makeshift neighborhood dump where residents can drop trash, TVs, tires and other items before they get cited and fined.

Residents who haven't cleaned up by the end of the operation will be cited.

The county hasn't decided where it will focus next but is looking at Town and Country, Gibsonton and Dover.

"It depends on when we do our assessment, which one needs it most," Langford said.

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