One of Saline’s most blighted properties reached a new level of ugly early this week. The vacant house on the former Karpinski property – a Monroe street parcel sold by the city to Damien Farrell’s company to build condominiums.
Farrell’s condominiums were to be composed of prefabricated modular units. A couple of months ago the company that made those units went out of business and the development has stalled.
The vacant home has been subject to vandalism and mischief for several months. Neighbors report seeing teenagers and kids playing near the home and police have found people in the home. The property has also been used for training by the Saline Area Fire Department.
Monday morning, neighbors woke up and saw the boarded windows knocked out and graffiti on the front of the home, side of the home and on the realtor’s sign near the road. It wasn’t your typical juvenile graffiti. The vandals smeared City of Saline Mayor Brian Marl and City Manager Todd Campbell.
One of the comments on the side of the home appeared to criticize the city for the longstanding wastewater treatment plant odors. The plant can be seen and, at least on Monday, smelled from the abandoned house
Another statement appeared to chastise the mayor as a sell-out. Some neighbors are not happy with the way the density of Farrell’s project continued to grow and began to eat into Peoples’ Park.
The coarse language was in full view of motorists passing by Monday and Tuesday. It was also next door to Annie’s Day Care Center, whose director said Tuesday that she hoped it was cleaned soon.
The vandalized realtor sign was removed Monday. City Manager Todd Campbell said Wednesday that the property owner cleaned up the vandalism and re-secured the home Tuesday.
“We have ordinances. We were made aware of it Monday and the developer took care of it yesterday,” Campbell said.
Sgt. Andrew Hartwig of the Saline Police Department said there were no suspects on Tuesday afternoon.
Campbell said the developer is working on a plan to demolish the house. There is no timetable for demolition, he said.
Meanwhile, there is nothing new to report on the development of the property.
“They’re still looking at possibilities. He hasn’t come back with a new plan at this time. We’ve invited him to a future council meeting so that he can come talk to city council,” Campbell said.
Farrell is not in jeopardy of any site plan violations. Campbell said he had 120 days to begin construction after closing, which he did. He has 48 months to finish – but can also apply for extensions.
Should the property fall into disrepair, neighbors can call the city or report problems using the See Click Fix App.
Campbell also noted that entering the house or the property is trespassing.