Melinda Harris, who made an emotional appeal in November for help to save her home from demolition, has decided to give up a court fight and tear down her Wabash Avenue home condemned by the city of Belleville.
Harris has said she doesn’t have any money left for repairs after giving at least $30,000 to two contractors for a new roof and renovations but the contractors did not finish the job and the city condemned the home at 600 Wabash Ave.
Harris, who could not be reached for comment this week, was scheduled to go on trial Monday but has agreed to have the home torn down by 5 p.m. Feb. 3.
If Harris misses that deadline, Circuit Judge Stephen McGlynn ordered that the city could tear down the home and send Harris the bill.
They condemned my home. I don’t have anywhere to go.
A GoFundMe account was started for Harris but it had not received any donations as of Friday.
“I’m just here on my own, doing this by myself,” Harris said as she broke down in tears at the conclusion of a YouTube video in which she described her plight.
“They condemned my home. I don’t have anywhere to go,” Harris said in the video posted in November. “I don’t have any more money to finish this work.”
Part of a roof truss hangs over the side of the home and the sidewalk next to the home has been blockaded by the city. Uncompleted frame walls have been exposed to the weather for months.
Harris has said one contractor didn’t finish the job and then died last summer. A second contractor was hired but also didn’t complete the project.
The city filed a lawsuit against Harris in March in an effort to get a court order to tear down the home.
The home “is dangerous because it is structurally unsafe, damaged and dilapidated, and dangerous to the neighborhood,” according to the lawsuit filed Assistant City Attorney Brian Flynn.
The city’s building commissioner has “determined the building to be deteriorated and so weakened that it is dangerous and was declared to be a public nuisance and is beyond reasonable repair,” the lawsuit states.
I just think it’s a sad situation when someone works somebody for money like that and leaves them like that, in shambles.
Robin Logsdon, who works next to Melinda Harris’ home
Belleville Ward 7 Alderman Phil Elmore said it is a “sad situation” for Harris “but we have to move on if she can’t complete her project and that’s only fair to the neighborhood.”
The Night Moves bar is across the street from Harris’ home and one of the bartenders there, Robin Logsdon, has watched the scene unfold at Harris’ home.
“I just think it’s a sad situation when someone works somebody for money like that and leaves them like that, in shambles,” Logsdon said. “How do you pick it up? But they can’t do it too many times, they’ll get caught.”