Before a backhoe started tearing apart the boarded-up 1926 house in Little Havana — littered with trash inside, reeking of foul odor, chewed up by termites — Miami City Manager Emilio González explained why derelict buildings are a blight on the community.
“They’re drug dens,” he said. “Any number of criminal activities work out of these homes.”
The house at 243 SW 10th Ave. was the 10th such home to be cleared or demolished in Miami since Jan. 1 as part of a broader “safe city” initiative that includes removing blighted structures that harbor crime, cleaning up trash in neighborhoods and improving green spaces.
Around 8:45 a.m. Thursday, the city demolished the house after a long process that started with neighborhood complaints and arrests of drug users squatting inside. The city placed a lien on the building and went through a months-long process before Miami’s unsafe structures board. The owner, who did not respond to the board, had not paid property taxes since 2015 and owes $9,739.28, according to county records.
Joe Carollo, whose district includes Little Havana, used the demolition as a springboard to highlight the city’s renewed focus on addressing crime.
“We made a promise to people in this neighborhood, who are good, hard-working people,” he said of east Little Havana. “That we’re going to give their neighborhood back to them.”
Another facet of the initiative: hurricane preparedness. The city is planning a push on social media to have residents get their trees trimmed well ahead of hurricane season.