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Archive for November, 2008

Shortly after my last post, I wandered around Carrollton, and discovered that, back in the far reaches of the subdivision the blackened concrete foundation of 4217 Manteca was nothing more than a freshly buried mound of dirt.  Nothing more is left to indicate that a grand two story house once existed on that very spot.

A short walk down the street, and I also noticed that the burned out remains of 12893 Bittick was also finally laid to rest under its own graded dirt pile.   I can’t say enough that its about time the demolition work has started.  In some cases the houses remained as dangerous blackened shells for 8 months.

Since my walk that Saturday, all of the remaining burned houses have been cleared completely away.

12713 Asherton was destroyed and graded soon after the Manteca and Bittick houses.

12736 Woodford Way was cleaned up around November 14th.  12752 Lonsdale was cleared probably the same time.

4232 and 4245 Manteca were both cleared on November 18th.

4245 and 4247 Brampton were both cleared sometime last week around the 20th.

12634 and 4111 Weskan were cleared on November 24th.  4050 Chartley was also cleared.

Finally, a favorite of mine, 4219 Chartley was destroyed just yesterday or even this morning, November 26th, 2008.   It was not previously a burned up house… that is, until this past weekend.   On Sunday, Nov. 23rd, I noticed that it was burned down to its foundation.   By Wednesday, all that remained of the last house on Chartley was cleared away to nothing more than dirt.   I’m even working on a painting right now that incorporates this house and I was hoping to perhaps get a couple more so I can finish the work.

What is interesting to me is how this house was cleaned out to begin the complex and expensive asbestos work.   Days after the house was prepped, it burned down to its foundation.  (Which is standard now -the fire department simply allows for these vacant houses to burn completely down since there is nothing around anymore).   Its been months since any arson, so why now all of a sudden is very strange.   Rather than having to undergo complicated asbestos removal, which includes stripping the entire interior down to the 2×4 studs, the arsonists did the airport a favor.   I’m not pointing fingers nor do I want to even give the illusion that I am accusing anyone of anything.  However, I do think the fires have saved the cash-strapped airport a few dollars.  Its also interesting how they are doing the asbestos work first on the houses in the high profile area near Pont, and seem to be saving the ones in the back of the subdivision for later.

All 6 houses in the Pont/Gladwyn area has undergone a total asbestos stripping, and the remaining 7 on the other side are being prepared for the process as well.   This is due in part to the lawsuit the aiport lost by the Great Rivers Environmental Law Center representing former Carrollton residents.   The residents were concerned that the wet method being used by the airport was not adequately keeping asbestos out of the air and surrounding environment.   As it is to be expected by anything that deals with the judicial system, it  took so long for the case to close that the last residents left over a year ago.  Yet, the lawsuit now will call for the remaining material to be removed in the safest way possible.  How much asbestos was in any of the homes seems to be the biggest and most worrisome mystery of all. The downside to the lawsuit is that the area may now be considered contaminated… which means seeing Carrollton become a park is becoming more impossible and a permanent closure of the land may be the reality.

I’ll explain more about the asbestos issues in my next post, which I plan to write later this week.

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In the past month, I have seen more gates go up and my hopes grow ever more sour regarding the remaining homes being demolished in the proper manner in a timely fashion.

Lambert, thank you for finally starting work again, even if it has been 8 months and dragged out for too many years.

This weekend, the evidence is ripe that demolition work is going to begin again.  The familiar orange sewer cap stickers were placed on a few homes with front yards freshly dug up.   The word “clear” has been freshly spray painted on the driveways from the various residential utility companies in the area.  A fire hydrant use permit for my friends at Jones Excavating and Demolition Co. is wrapped around a hydrant on Pont.  The asbestos removal trucks have removed all unwanted debris and thoroughly cleared out any asbestos containing insulation and tiling out of a couple of the houses on Pont.

I walked around Carrollton for hours this past fine weekend, and I am glad that, finally, in the beauty of the fall colors, its starting to look like maybe there will be an end for the homes in the near future.   It was a bittersweet weekend, and I have to admit how much I wish all of this was a non-issue and Carrollton was just a normal suburban neighborhood with magestic large red, orange and yellow trees.   Empty of its residents, nature can and already has in many aspects settle in and reclaim.   If you were to drive through Carrollton now and take in the perfection of the colors from this season from the tall and magnificant trees left by the residents, you too would want to see this place converted into a park for the enjoyment of all.

I will write more later about my weekend observations, but the important thing for you to do is to a) go vote tomorrow, b) go and take a drive through Carrollton during the peak color time, and c) demand that beautiful places be returned to the people and to nature.

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