NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Residents in Springfield Gardens, Queens say that their neighbor's yard has become a prime site for illegal garbage dumping and a home for rats and raccoons.
Neighbor Mary Moore told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez on Wednesday night that she has been complaining to the city about the dilapidated house since it became vacant 20 years ago.
The yard is filled with overgrown weeds and garbage, including a pile of tires, an old mattress and a rusted car bumper.
Neighbor Tony McFadden said he has been spending his own money to clean up the mess.
"I've hired guys to come in here so many times -- at least two or three times every year. And summertime, it goes right back out there again," he said.
Moore said the growing pest problem poses a serious threat to the neighborhood's children.
"We spent all kinds of money throwing stuff in there to kill the rats, raccoons and everything because we're afraid for the children," Moore said.
The Department of Health told CBS 2 that it sent inspectors to the house to issue the owner a summons, but the owner has passed away.
Because there is no living owner to pay the fines or maintain the property, Donovan Richards, the chief of staff for City Councilman James Sanders, stepped in.
"We reached out to the bank. The bank says they're not responsible. We've reached out to the Finance Department, and they say the property's not in foreclosure," Richards said.
Richards wants the city to help.
"I believe the city is responsible. And I'm calling on the city to move heaven and earth to make sure that our seniors have a place to live in luxury, not in horror," Richards said.
Residents are hoping that the blight will soon be replaced by beauty.
Who do you think is responsible for cleaning up the mess? Let us know in our comments section below...
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