Last properties on CNO list demolished

Last properties on CNO list demolished

By Shellie Berg

By Shellie Berg

Staff Reporter

Alderman Dick Goral (D-7) celebrated his birthday July 24 by reveling over the long-awaited demolition of three board-ups on North Winnebago following years of complaints over homeless people, drug dealers and children using the houses.

The city awarded Rockview Stone Company a $28,000 contract for the demolition, which ended last week. Goral was the first to pull the handle for the “scoop” on the crane to knock down the three homes on North Winnebago, owned by Lorenzo Capes. The Rockford Housing Authority and the city of Rockford recently obtained the properties for $37,416 after an extended battle in court. The properties were all demolished throughout last week.

The property at 829 N. Winnebago has been boarded up since 1986, the property at 827 has remained boarded up since 1990, and the property at 917 has been boarded up since 1991. The city states complaints plagued the properties since the 1970s.

“It’s wonderful; it’s super,” Goral stated. “It was my birthday, and what a birthday present.”

Students from adjacent Haskell School, 515 Maple St., sang “Happy Birthday” and “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang to Goral.

Before becoming alderman, Goral presided over Roosevelt United Neighbors. He represented the organization on the Council of Neighborhood Organizations (CNO). The Capes’ properties were the last on a list of 10 “eyesore” properties the CNO wanted the city to do something about. The CNO plans to devise another list this year.

Vicki Jacobson, principal of Haskell, said students at the year-round school attended the event because Goral asked them to attend. She is pleased the properties are gone.

“It was a safety concern as well as an aesthetic concern,” she remarked. “When parents would come to school, it would make the neighborhood look uninviting and even dangerous to some. My kids would tell me about kids who played in the houses. I would hear from neighbors about drug deals going down in the houses.”

All attempts to contact Capes were unsuccessful.

The Rock River Times published pictures of the board-ups taken by Goral, and will continue to do so, if any organization wishes to submit them.

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