The goals of EPNIA are to further redevelopment of the neighborhood while also reducing blight. While the primary goal is to encourage the restoration of the homes in the area, in some cases this is not practical, either because of the condition of the homes or because the structures lack architectural integrity. In certain cases, EPNIA will seek demolition of properties if they have become a nuisance in the area and there is no practical hope for restoration. Since the Master Plan was finalized in 2010, the Association has become more proactive in attempting to remove nuisance properties from the landscape, particularly since there is now a land bank in place (Enos Park Development) that allows for the acquisition of problematic properties.
This property on the corner of 4th and Dodge was vacant for years while the vegetation and elements took their toll. When the original owner passed away he left the property to his heirs, who contacted the neighborhood association. Enos Park Development worked with the City of Springfield to demolish the structure and clear the site for future development. Fortunately, volunteers were able to salvage much of the woodwork, trim, and other architectural materials from the interior of the house prior to demolition.
EPNIA long sought action on this property, also boarded and vacant for years. After several years of unsuccessfully pushing the city to seek demolition, EPNIA contacted the owners directly. This house had been passed on through an estate to a group of siblings who did not want anything to do with the property but didn’t know how to get out of it due to the back taxes and liens that had accumulated. Enos Park Development agreed to purchase the house for a nominal amount that would allow the owners to pay off their obligations on the property, and the house was then demolished.
This was one of seven properties within the boundaries of Enos Park that came up for sale at the county tax auction in September of 2010. The newly created Enos Park Development sought to purchase all of the properties that were being sold for back taxes, with the idea that at least the Association could assign volunteers to make sure the vacant lots were kept mowed and free of debris. The city demolished this house the same day as the auction, and it is now one of the vacant lots held by Enos Park Development.
This apartment building, with the appearance of a motel, was very much out of character with the two story historic homes surrounding it. Built in the 1960’s in the midst of turn-of-the-century homes, it is an example of the importance of appropriate zoning and the detrimental effects on neighborhoods when zoning is ignored. With nine one-bedroom units, this property also presented a population density issue and the physical condition declined over the years. The apartments were a source of frequent police calls as drugs and prostitution became commonplace. A nuisance abatement enacted by the State’s Attorney (at the request of the EPNIA) temporarily shut down the buildings, but when they were allowed to re-open, the same types of problem people quickly inhabited the apartments again. A fire damaged a portion of the building, which was never repaired, making it a further eyesore and an on-going problem for Public Works. Finally, EPD purchased the property and the apartments were vacated. The buildings were then demolished, not only removing nine units of substandard housing from the neighborhood and the problems associated with those tenants, but also removed a property that never should have been built in that particular location. The hope is that the two vacant parcels will allow for construction of a larger, single-family home that will be appropriate to the surrounding properties.