County leaders take action after residents of Speedway Park plea for help

Posted at 5:54 PM, May 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-03 17:54:26-04

Bright and early Wednesday morning, sounds that might typically irritate neighbors put smiles on their faces and reignited faith in community leaders. Bulldozers came in to demolish a condemned home and crews cleaning up lots of garbage.

"Oh finally after all these years of our neighborhood getting worse and worse and worse they are doing something to make it better," said Helen Richards.

The 81-year-old put down roots in Speedway Park 74 years ago. All around her close friends who have also called this Hillsborough community home for decades.

"These are old time people they are to old to fight," said Richards.

Desperate and tired of garbage filling the roadways and rising crime, they called Action News.

"Help us! Help us the taxpayers," said Pam Niles.

So we did, their anguish resonated with the Director of Code Enforcement Ron Spiller. Spiller actually drove out to the Palm River area to get a first hand look.

"Clearly that needs attention and the residents in the area felt so compelled to call you about the problem, I felt it was necessary for us to take a look and brings it back up on our radar. I had no knowledge of the garbage on the public roadways," said Spiller.

Spiller took key steps, he asked for a a rapid response team to remove all the garbage, including an abandoned boat.

Spiller said while they scheduled this demolition, other homes in ruins Action News pointed out could now also come down.

The neighbors pleas also bolster code enforcement's push for a new policy helping  all neighborhoods dealing with eyesores

"It has more teeth in it and this will enable us to take that property owner before a judge," said Spiller.

Richards is confident she is speaking for all her neighbors and hopes they will again wake up  with sounds of hope.

"I think we are getting our neighborhood back again yes," said Richards.

Action News also followed up with the sheriff's office.

A spokesperson said they area aware of the issues and are talking proactive steps.

They also encourage all residents to use this crime mapping tool:

The tool tracks all activity in their neighborhood.

Deputies said if residents see a rise in crime, they want should call them and alert their local neighborhood watch.