Tarpon Springs groups band together to clean up problem properties

Posted at 6:40 PM, Nov 15, 2016

The city of Tarpon Springs, police and citizens are making their city safer by targeting three different dangerous properties near the busy downtown.

The Sunbay Motel, Tarpon Inn and Eureka Apartments have all been designated nuisance properties by law enforcement, but the plan for change goes beyond just police.

“I was born and raised here," Nick Toth said.

The streets of Tarpon Springs hold a lifetime of memories for Nick Toth, but recent memories now include violent crimes, like the murder of a police officer, too close to home.

“The lighting was so poor at the end of the street that it was almost non-existent, because the trees had overgrown the lighting and the lights weren’t that powerful, however now it’s quite, quite well lit up," Toth said.

New lights and trimmed trees at the Eureka Apartments on Grand Boulevard are some improvements the city of Tarpon Springs and police are making to clean up those three nuisance properties. The other two, Sunbay Motel and Tarpon Inn, are even closer to downtown, where tourists often visit.

“They’re just known as kind of a sleazy place, my office was broken into about three years ago, and it didn’t take the police but maybe 24 hours to figure out who it was and it originated from down there," Newt Hudson said.

With his law office on the same block as the Sunbay Motel, Hudson said he's relieved to see efforts for a safer neighborhood. Police said they're adding patrols, as well as undercover enforcement and they're cracking down on code violations. People in the community are calling in tips and organizing watch groups.

“It’s nice to have a safe neighborhood obviously, and I’m glad that they’re working on it," Hudson said.

"We just would like to have it safe for you know for the young people who have the families who are raising their children to feel that this is a good environment for them," Toth said.

Police said moving forward, they plan to add more street lights and use technology to help report crime.

The next meeting update will be December 13th.