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Our View: Neighbors need to move on after fire

“It’s an eyesore that keeps bringing back bad memories.”

That’s how Greg Rolewski described the scene in the Lakeland Park subdivision in McHenry.

Rolewski lives directly across the street from 4510 Parkway Ave., where a March 8 fire destroyed a home and killed 12-year-old Dayana Garcia.

Two-and-a-half-months later, the home’s charred remains continue to sit on the property and serve as a reminder about the tragedy.

Kids who were friends with Garcia and her brothers can’t play outside without seeing the house. Debris from the house blows about the neighborhood. When it rains, the home smells like it’s burning again, and there is a constant smell of gasoline.

All of this makes the grieving process more difficult. The constant reminders delay moving on. Unfortunately, nobody knows when they will be allowed to move on.

McHenry Code Compliance Inspector Jean Headley said the demolition process has been a “jumbled mess” complicated by the fact that the home was being foreclosed on before the fire.

Once Bank of America took possession of the home April 22, it became its responsibility to initiate the demolition process, Headley said. The city was under the impression that the bank had signed an agreement with a property management company to demolish and clean up the home. But Bank of America spokeswoman Diane Wagner said nothing will be done until the bank’s next court date in July.

The bottom line is the that the demolition process needs to be expedited. The neighborhood needs to move on.

If Bank of America is unwilling to move quickly, then the city should act. If that means demolishing the home, cleaning up the site, and billing Bank of America for the cost, so be it.

Letting the home sit and stoke memories is not an option.


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