Demolition started Wednesday on a vacant Indianapolis apartment complex known as a hot spot for crime.
Oaktree Apartments was condemned in 2014 by the Marion County Health Department and has since attracted drug trafficking, prostitution and violent crime to the neighborhood.
District 14 City- County Councilor La Keisha Jackson says the demolition is a step forward.
“Today’s announcement is a combination of nearly 15 years of hope, hard work and determination of the part of many who live here to enhance the quality of life in Indy’s far eastside,” Jackson says.
Oaktree Apartments declined for years. In 2008, a tornado destroyed 48 units and damaged 200 more. The apartments were later cut off from Section 8 housing for failure to meet standards. A few years later, the city prosecutor filed a public nuisance case against the apartments due to code violations and the number of police and fire runs to the property.
The demolition comes after a lengthy battle that ended this summer when the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision and allowed the city to tear the property down.
Mayor Joe Hogsett calls the vacant complex a blight to east side.
"When the city filed suit to gain ownership of Oaktree Apartments, it was to help secure a future this community deserves," Hogsett says. "It is my hope that we are not just starting to clear away these buildings, but instead, we are clearing the way for a new far eastside pride. Oaktree Apartments does not represent the people of this neighborhood."
It is unsure what comes next for the 19 acre site. The Department of Metropolitan Development wants to acquire it through eminent domain. Demolition is expected to take at least six months.