Waterbury residents start cleanup effort for historic homes - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Waterbury residents start cleanup effort for historic homes

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Historic homes are in need of cleanup and now, residents are working to clean them up themselves. (WFSB) Historic homes are in need of cleanup and now, residents are working to clean them up themselves. (WFSB)

A neighborhood of historic row houses in Waterbury has fallen on hard times, but it is unclear who is responsible for repairing the buildings.  

Waterbury's Scovill Homes date back to the early 1900s. The row houses were built by the brass factories to house their workers during World War I. Now, today some of those homes are abandoned, and the common areas behind them have been neglected.

Neighbors have started a grassroots approach to clean up the complex and take matters into their own hands.Tall grass, bags of trash, tires, and part of an old television were found behind some of Waterbury's Scovill Homes, which are the close to 140 brick row houses that line Ives and Wood streets.

"You'll come out and you'll see someone pull up, dumped the old freezers,” Erika Cooper, who lives near the Scovill Homes, said.

Cooper, who recently moved back to this area, said she thinks neighbors need to do something themselves about the trash, the overgrown yards and those common areas behind the homes.

"What we're trying to do as some of the residents, to form our own association, get the lots paved up, put down a fence and make it an area for the kids to play,” Cooper said.

There is no clear answer because the city isn't responsible for the common areas.  The person who owned the common areas died years ago. Now, people dump trash there and the grass grows freely. 

Karen Hadley, who lives in the neighborhood and whose husband is an alderman, said they have meetings once a month, but no one shows up.

"Come to the meetings and watch things work,” Hadley said. “That’s all we're trying to do, get the people to the meetings, let’s sit down and take it from there."  

Cooper works for Neighborhood Housing Services of Waterbury and to help move the needle, her boss, Executive Director Kevin Taylor, will meet with the city on Friday.

"How we can figure out to get these properties to some sort of ownership, whether that's a nonprofit like NHS of Waterbury, or the community that forms an association here and they can take ownership, that way it can start to be maintained,” Taylor said.

"We're tired, we're sick and tired of being sick and tired and now its work over words, that's our thing,” Cooper said.

Cooper said she plans to go around to the residents this weekend. They are surveying those living in that area to figure out what are the biggest problems and pressing needs.

Eyewitness News was told the group that traditional meets the first Saturday of the month and will do so on July 1. They are hoping plenty of people show up to that meeting.

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