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Big demolitions planned to help fight Amsterdam blight

June 12, 2019 06:44 PM

For the last 11 years, Emilio Raymos has lived on Brookside Avenue in Amsterdam. After delivering mail in Brooklyn for 45 years, he says moving here was a choice.

"I found a nice house up here in Amsterdam, plus I have three sisters that live in Amsterdam, a bunch of nieces and nephews," said Raymos.

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Raymos owns his home and keeps it in good condition. However, just a few doors down sits a home slated to be demolished.

Mayor Michael Villa says 15 houses across the city are set to be torn down with funding from the Land Bank and the city. He calls the plans to change the city's landscape strategic.

"For the first time in a long time, property values are up. I really see a completely different Amsterdam in the next two to five years," said Villa.

A once thriving industrial city, Villa says there are now about 600 houses that are either vacant, bank-owned or in foreclosure.

On Brookside Avenue, there is a mixture of properties in various conditions. Right across from the home that will be knocked down sits the street's nicest home. Just up the street is a new home built by Habitat for Humanity for Manuel Castro. Castro and his sister have lived in Amsterdam since they were just 5 and 6 years old.

"When you see a lot of the neighborhoods now, how does that make you feel," asked NewsChannel 13.

"Sad. Sad because people don't want to take care of their homes anymore. They're knocking them down and at one time they were all gorgeous," said Castro's sister, Carmen Irizarry.

With the city's plans to revamp and encourage people to rebuild, people like Irizarry and Raymos are looking forward to a cleaner and safer city.

"It's a wonderful place to retire, Amsterdam," said Raymos.

"I would love to see Amsterdam just be the way it was," said Irizarry.

Villa says the houses that will be torn down this summer include:

29-31 Kimball Street

147 Division Street

147 ½ Division Street

39-41 Brookside Avenue

255 East Main Street

73-75 Elizabeth Street

20 Union Street

56 ½ Academy Street

60 Academy Street

75 Wall Street

Credits

Jacquie Slater

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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