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Thanks to the efforts of Mason Square neighborhood activists, a vacant home at 14 Dresden St, .which had become a haven for vagrants and drug activity, has fallen to the wrecking ball.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Springfield Housing and Disaster Recovery officials joined representatives of the fire and building departments at the site, now a pile of soon-to-be cleared rubble, Thursday morning to celebrate the near-complete demolition of the blighted property.

"I would like to thank our residents for raising their public safety concerns about this property," Sarno said. "As a result this building is part of our blight reduction efforts and we're here to bring the wrecking ball."

Sarno said the demolition of the derelict property was five years as the city wrangled with the legal process, including foreclosure. The city plans to seek proposals from developers interested in building a single or two-family home on the site.

The project was identified as a neighborhood priority through the Mason Square Initiative, a collection of residents, law enforcement officials, representatives from the mayor's office and local community based organizations.

Darryl Moss, deputy communication director for the mayor, said the creation of the Mason Square Initiative that aims to get input from residents about potential trouble spots like the Dresden Street property.

Demolition and asbestos abatement are being completed by Associated Building Wreckers of Springfield at a total cost of $41,820. Cardno/ATC of West Springfield is providing environmental oversight of the project at a cost of $4,850.

Neighbors pushed for the demolition of the building, now a city owned tax foreclosed property, citing public safety concerns raised by reports of drug activity and the presence of vagrants at the property.

The city filed a motion for demolition, which was granted in December 2012 against the owner. A final judgment in a tax taking case against the owner was issued in July 2014.

The Dresden Street property is one of several properties that are coming down as part of the city's ongoing blight reduction campaign. Others include: 17 Sheridan Lane, 22-24 Medford St. and 124 Norfolk St.

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