Saline City Councillor Dean Girbach criticized vandals who painted obscenities about the mayor and city manager on an abandoned South Monroe Street home two weeks ago. In his remarks at Monday’s Saline City Council meeting, Girbach also had harsh words for city staff.
On Aug. 14, commuters and residents in the neighborhood noticed the graffiti on old Karpinski home, which is part of a parcel of land the city sold to developer Damien Farrell for his Fairdene condominium project. The condo project is at a standstill. Farrell planned to build his homes using prefabricated modules, and the manufacturer recently went out of business.
As a result, the project, already unpopular with neighbors, was halted. Weeds grew on the property and the abandoned white home was targeted by vandals who also expressed displeasure with the wastewater treatment plant, located a few hundred yards to the south.
Girbach criticized the graffiti.
“It was something of a shock. I am disappointed people in the went to that level of vulgar abuse,” Girbach said, noting that city council is working to resolve issues at the wastewater treatment plant. “Graffiti on private property is a shame. That kind of disrespect should not be tolerated.”
Girbach said he hopes police follow through with their investigation and find the culprits.
But Girbach’s criticism wasn’t only for the vandals.
“Aside from that, I’m extremely disappointed with the development and the developer’s failure to take care of the property. We’ve got weeds six feet tall. Neighbors complained about a cut cable throw on to the ground. This property is one of the worst I’ve seen,” Girbach said, comparing it to state of 147 W. Michigan Ave.
Girbach then turned his attention to city staff. Girbach said he went through every line of the land sale agreement and couldn’t find a single reference calling for the new owner to remove the house.
“I consider that a failure of city staff,” Girbach said, adding that he’d called for that stipulation several times. “I want to see the house removed.”
Mayor Brian Marl said that city residents who have issues with property maintenance can call the city, which will have its code enforcement officer investigate.
“If there is a violation, they will be cited,” Marl said.
Meanwhile, Marl said, the city continues to “constructively engage” the developer and has emphasized that the demolition of the house is a priority.