Why Cleanup Is Hard: Elected Hartford marshal maintains a rat's nest while punching the city meal ticket
Hartford Courant Editorial
July 22, 2010
Courant columnist Helen Ubinas recently shined a spotlight on one more official who blithely disregards local laws while feeding off the public trough.
At the corner of Franklin Avenue and Bodwell Street in Hartford's South End — in a busy neighborhood of mostly well-kept small businesses and dwellings — sits blighted property owned by Tracy Sparmer.
Overgrown with weeds and littered with junk, a marshaling yard for neighborhood rodents, the eyesore property is a disgrace that has frustrated nearby residents for years.
Their agony may soon be over. Mr. Sparmer's blighted property, previously owned by former Hartford Mayor George Athanson, is scheduled to be publicly auctioned next month.
The foreclosure sale was court-ordered because of $160,000 worth of outstanding fines and penalties assessed under the city's blight ordinance. It's good to know the city is aggressively enforcing that ordinance. It hasn't always done so.
May the new owner quickly clean up the corner property; it would make all the difference in the world for that stretch of Franklin Avenue's quality of life.
And what was Mr. Sparmer doing while the fines and penalties were piling up and he was letting his eyesore property go to the feral cats?
He was — apparently still is — an elected city constable who made hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Hartford Housing Authority delivering eviction papers to city residents.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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