MILWAUKEE — Nearly five months after it was destroyed by fire, a Southside business remains untouched and has become an eye sore in the neighborhood.
"It's ridiculous," Jervitta Bradford said. "It's like an eye catcher. It brings the property levels down. It is not a curb appeal at all. It's an eye sore."
Bradford has lived in the area for about 10 years. It's a neighborhood she enjoys living in but walking outside of her home every day has become depressing because of the burned out building.
"Anything [would be better]," Bradford said. "It's about time somebody is stepping up. It's very ugly. I'm appalled it's still there."
"My constituents who live right here in this neighborhood, their best interests are not being served by this eye sore that, in my opinion, has become a public nuisance," Alderman Bob Donovan said.
Donovan didn't hold back his feelings about the charred remains of a furniture store near 25th and Lincoln.
"You can see the horrendous damage done at the front of this building," Donovan said. "You can see the abandoned cars here, some of them stripped totally, tires, rims, everything gone. These cars, this garbage has nothing to do with the status of this building."
Donovan says the building has been a magnet for crime and drug use. He says just yesterday, a local business owner sent him photos of people allegedly using heroin in the middle of the day in the parking lot.
"They just recently put up this shambled fence," Donovan said. That does nothing to secure the property. I guarantee you, if this damn building sat across the street from Mayor Barrett's home, it would be down in a week. My constituents shouldn't have to put up with that."
Because of the alleged crime and drug use paired with how much it's fallen into disrepair, Donovan says residents like Bradford are paying the consequences.
"Someone for the first time or in years is driving down Lincoln and what do they see?" Donovan said. "They think, that's a neighborhood where nobody gives a damn. That's a neighborhood where I sure as hell don't want to buy a home or open up a business. It can be devastating to a neighborhood."
However, the family of the landlord says they're waiting for the insurance company to stop dragging its feet.
"I've seen other places where the insurance company pays up right away," Abdul Marashi, the brother of the landlord said. "This insurance company is dragging its feet and dragging its feet unless they're forced to pay. They feel like they don't have to help the landlord pay for this."
Marashi was working towards cleaning up the garbage around the building Tuesday afternoon. He says his sister does not want to tear down the building and wants to fix it.
"I understand," Marashi said. "Of course no one wants it to be this way. It's something that needs to be fixed up. The alderman has a point there but, like I said, the thing has to go back to, who has the money?"
Donovan says he's asked the city attorney to take formal steps in declaring this property a public nuisance and also to seize the property from the current owner so they can tear it down.
The Department of Neighborhood Services says, "Based on the overall condition of the building at 2525 W. Lincoln Ave., the building was deemed repairable. DNS has issued an order to repair to the property owners. It is our understanding that the owner is working with their insurance company with the intent to rebuild."