Seized House Donated to Neighborhood Housing Service Renovations Completed
Photo/text By Renee Burrell
CLEARWATER - The home at 1107 Blanche B. Littlejohn Trail in the North Greenwood neighborhood that was once a crack house has been renovated. The search for residents to occupy it is underway.
United States Attorney, Robert E. O’Neill, donated the house to the Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services, Inc. CNHS. CNHS is the neighborhood support group formed to initiate housing revitalization in the North Greenwood Community of Clearwater. Last June the deed and keys to the property were given to Isay M. Gulley, President/CEO of CNHS and W. Pearl Johnson, Board Chairman of CNHS.
Prior to the government's seizure of the property, the Clearwater Police reportedly were called to the address to deal with hundreds of complaints involving crack cocaine dealings. According to the United States Department of Justice, "In May of 2004 an investigation lead to the arrest of the property owner, Mary Starker Cobb, who was actively involved in the criminal activity at this property.
With the help of investigators from the Clearwater Police Department, Special Agents from DEA, and Deputy U.S. Marshals, the home was forfeited by the Asset Forfeiture Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. Typically forfeited real estate is sold. However, in this case it was felt that turning the home over to a neighborhood group such as CNHS would have a more positive outcome in the Clearwater Community."
The home is located in the North Greenwood neighborhood, which has been designated as one of The Department of Justice’s Weed and Seed areas. The Weed and Seed program is a partnership between state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, local governments, community leaders, residents, and the United States Attorney’s Office. The program's mission is to “weed out” drug trafficking and violent crime in designated areas in collaboration with community stakeholders to “seed” neighborhoods with programs for positive change.
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