MIDVALE — Vandals defaced and tagged more than 12 homes in a Midvale neighborhood early Saturday morning.
Fences, sheds and a dozen abandoned homes were left with scars.
“I have lived here for 17 years,” Spencer Mears told KSL. “And I have never seen anything like this. I woke up today, and I looked out my front door to see large amounts of graffiti.”
Mears said the neighborhood has gone downhill ever since the Utah Department of Transportation started purchasing homes on Adams and Hoover Streets near Northbound I-15.
A total of 32 homeowners in the Midvale neighborhood have agreed to offers with UDOT to sell their homes and have them demolished. UDOT public information officer John Gleason told KSL that 49 homes will eventually be demolished to make way for the widening of Northbound I-15.
“I-15 is our most heavily traveled freeway, and there’s a lot of congestion in the south end of the valley,” Gleason said.
The project, set to start construction next summer, will add northbound lanes from Bangerter Highway to 7200 South. UDOT has 30 to 90 days to secure the proper permits for demolition. Neighbors say it’s been longer than that.
“They told us they were going to tear down homes in October; I t’s December, and it hasn’t happened yet,” Mears said.
UDOT officials noted turning off utilities, securing permits and finalizing contracts take time – sometimes months. But neighbors are tired of waiting.
“I just want to keep my family safe, and trouble keeps happening when the sun goes down” Mears said.
Unified Police Department detectives confirmed vandalism was on the rise and the transient population had significantly increased in this neighborhood. UPD added six patrol officers to the area to help with the problem.
“There is gang graffiti here,” Unified detective Ken Hansen said, pointing to the vandalism. “There’s also tag graffiti, and there’s graffiti telling us the world is going to come to an end. This shows me not just one group did all of this.”
All of the homes set to be demolished are boarded up, and recently UDOT has shut down gas lines and electricity.
“Our worry is that transients will break in and start a fire,” Hansen said.
UDOT officials said the first homes will be demolished the week of December 17, and there will be three to five homes demolished each week.