Talon News - Good Local News



Interior of 901 Townsend before crews began work

For a time, 901 Townsend sat foreclosed, abandoned, and trashed. Aztec's Code Compliance and Information Officer, Andrew DiCamillo, noticed the messy yard, and he notified Aztec's Director of Community Development, Steven Saavedra. Neither knew the house was vacant.

DiCamillo investigated the property and found clues that it was unoccupied: shut off utilities and no dumpster. He reached the former owners, who tried to direct him to the bank who now owned the house, but he eventually had to find them on his own. "I think to [DiCamillo's] credit," said Saavedra, "he was able to contact the banks and really get them to take action, sooner than later." If he hadn't, the city may have had to take on clean up, a lengthy process to even start. Enough time had been lost.

"We see that kids at night are playing around there; that is a potential hazard for them. To see that day after day, week after week, even as a month goes, obviously no one was living there anymore. And all this stuff is outside and sometimes kids get curious and can get themselves into situations that can do them some harm," said DiCamillo. The property is a danger, and an eyesore.

"This [property] is actually adjacent to Ruins Road," said Saavedra. "So not only is the neighborhood looking at this, but you also have the tourists that are coming in, going to the Ruins, looking at this. And as a community we want to take pride in what this area looks like." Workers contracted by the responsible party are still cleaning the property. The lesson of 901 Townsend is initiative.

"I think hopefully, with houses in similar conditions, we're gonna be a little more proactive in making sure that this example doesn't occur as frequently and individuals don't have to see things like this," said Saavedra.

The City website (aztecnm.gov), claims Aztec is "a desirable place to live, work and play." It's a true claim because we have city employees like DiCamillo and Saavedra paying attention to and working for the beauty and safety of our neighborhoods.


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