By Seth Daniel
The long-abandoned and vacant home at 97 Summer St. has finally been demolished to the delight of neighbors and the City, but the hard choices are about to come regarding what to do with the property.
“I am glad to finally see some resolution with 97 Summer Street,” said Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “For years the neighbors have been dealing with this neglected property. Our ISD team has been diligent in its dealing with this case through the court system. This is a great improvement and we look forward to working with the neighborhood in improving this lot.”
City Councilor Fred Capone, who represents that area of Ward 1, said he would need to talk with neighbors to see what the appetite is for the site – which will go to auction at some point by court order.
“I think it’s important to speak with members of the immediate neighborhood before making any final plans for the parcel,” he said. “I intend to reach out to residents in the area to ask their opinions.”
Building Inspector Jim Soper said that the vacant property can have up to a two-family home built upon it, and that the matter is now in the hands of a judge in Middlesex Superior Court. It will be going to auction soon.
“At this point, we’re just happy to have the building down for the neighbors and the blight gone,” he said.
While housing is a natural fit, some in the City have postulated that it could make a good passive park in a very dense residential area – especially with Bucci’s right across the street. However, that would mean the City would have to purchase the property first on the open market at auction, and then pay for the build-out a new park. That, many say, could be expensive.
In the end, it will come down to the wishes of the neighborhood.
The property was the site of a Christmas Day standoff with Everett Police and a subsequent fire in 2015. At that time, the property became vacant.
Mayor DeMaria became immediately concerned about the property and its negative spillover effects of having a vacant building in the neighborhood. The City then began receivership proceedings.
In February, the City settled the process for receivership for the negligent property located at 97 Summer Street. The Summer Street property had acquired numerous violations of the Mass State Sanitary Code. After several months of no response to ISD enforcement action requests, the property was turned over to the law firm of D’Ambrosio & Brown LLP, whose services had been secured by the City in order to begin the process of receivership. D’Ambrosio & Brown were able to expedite the lengthy legal process, and a couple months ago, a judge issued receivership of the property to the Community Revitalization Group.
As appointed receiver, Community Revitalization Group took full responsibility for the property and was tasked with clearing all State Sanitary violations. On Wednesday, August 9th the Community Revitalization Group knocked down the house. Once the project is complete, Community Revitalization will collect payment for the cost of the repairs with additional fees allowed for management of the project. The City will be paid all fines, back-taxes, or any other monies owed in regards to the property.
Assistant City Solicitor/ Chairperson of Everett’s Task Force, Keith Slattery stated, “With the groundwork and procedures put in place by Attorney Peter Brown, coupled with the coordination between the departments as undertaken by the Task Force, this as a great example of what can and will be accomplished going forward.”
Building Contractor for Community Revitalization, Scott Fitzpatrick stated, “The City of Everett, especially the Fire, Inspectional Services, and Legal Departments made it easy on our end to complete this receivership process. They exemplified what it means to be professionals and it was a great experience working with them and the entire City.”
Once the City clears the property of the violations, the owners of the property, and the banks or management companies, will then be given first opportunity to make repayment to Community Revitalization, otherwise they can take advantage of a rapid foreclosure process through the Court.