The Brooksville, Florida residential development known as "the Trails at Rivard" is a picture-book neighborhood — as long as you don't look at the eyesores.
The streets are a study in contrasts, reports the Tampa Bay Times ("Trails at Rivard residents upset over response to abandoned homes," by Barbara Behrendt). "Side by side with handsome, manicured, Florida-style homes is an unfinished gray, concrete-block shell. The house has a roof, but no windows or doors. The wood framing inside is weathered.
After a few other occupied houses stands a concrete-block wall with no roof on a weedy lot. Rebar juts out of the blocks toward the sky. Both of the unfinished homes sport bright orange posters warning they are unsafe."
The half-built houses have been abandoned since the bottom began to fall out of Florida's real estate market in mid-2006. Pressure from the county was met with promises from the builder, but now, officials say, it's too late: the houses are unsafe, and patience has run out, the Times reports ("With missed deadline, county plans to demolish unfinished homes at Rivard," by Barbara Behrendt). "County building officials kept vigil until the close of business on Friday, but no one came to pay for and pick up the permits or post the required bond or $10,000 in escrow per site," the paper reports. "Those were among the requirements set by the county when the home sites were declared unsafe in August."
"Demolition will be welcomed by the neighbors of the vacant eyesores," reports the Times.