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Wednesday, May 19,2010

Knocked down

A couple of years and a Facebook group later, Lansing resident kisses eyesore goodbye

by Neal McNamara

 


 


Last Thursday morning, a three-year-long nightmare involving a bruised up and abandoned next-door neighbor ended for Lansing homeowner Ken Orlich.


Since Orlich moved onto Princeton Street five years ago, the house at 735 Princeton has been a problem. At first, the people living there were a nuisance, attracting the attention of the cops. Then, when those people moved out, they left a litter of puppies behind. Shortly after Orlich called animal control about that problem, the house became a full-time eyesore: abandoned, boarded-up and infested with critters (this time, not puppies).


The house quickly became a point of stress for Orlich, bringing down the spirits of the people living on his section of Princeton Street, which runs between Oakland Avenue and Saginaw Street on Lansing’s west side.


“It was horrible,” Orlich said of living next to thing.


Over the summer of 2008, Orlich contacted City Pulse so that we could put the house in the Eyesore of the Week column. In an e-mail he wrote, “I live next to this!” Attached was a photo of the monstrosity, with paint peeling off, and a mess of boards slapped over the windows. The thing looked like a smashed eggshell.


Since then, Orlich waged a squeaky wheel campaign against the house, bugging local elected officials to do something. The Ingham County Treasurer’s office took possession of the house in 2008 after a foreclosure, later turning over to the Ingham Co. Land Bank. And back in 2008, Treasurer Eric Schertzing said he thought the house had been torn down because he had a record of its demolition, but the house sat.


In 2009, Orlich created a Facebook page called “”KNOCK IT DOWN, LANSING!” with the intent of getting other Lansingites to post pictures of houses they wanted to see demolished. He used 735 Princeton as the page’s mascot.


So it was a welcome sight for Orlich when in March he got an e-mail from Schertzing notifying him that the house would be torn down. The Lansing Fire Department used it for training a few times before it came down. But on Thursday morning, during a rainstorm, two workers showed up with a backhoe and removed every last piece of the house.


Orlich took pictures and streamed it live online as it happened.


“I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me,” he said on Friday.


It took three years, but Orlich is thankful to Schertzing, and hopes that other Lansing residents will use the KNOCK IT DOWN, LANSING! page to get their gruesome neighbors taken care of. Also, he hopes property values will go up a little.



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