County Seat Newspaper
of Clare County

…and Another One Bites the Dust

Hayes Twp "Cockroach House" Demolished


After years of struggling with blight in the township, in 2015 Hayes Township began concerted efforts to tackle the problem with its first demolition on Cranberry Lake Road. Second and third demolitions followed in 2016 on Woods Road and Stockwell Road. Then the reality of court procedural costs set in, as offenders were allowed to clean up a bit, go back to court to show they were trying, and then receive additional time to clean up – after which the properties ultimately reverted to their original condition. Each court appearance cost the township additional funds.

Finally, with the patience of residents tried to the utmost, last year’s successful passage of an ordinance enforcement millage led to an agreement with Clare County Community Services to facilitate enforcement.

The first such demo began the morning of Jan. 3 as Buster Vasher’s excavator began nibbling away at a house on Oak Hill Drive near Cranberry Lake. That building had become known as “The Cockroach House” – a structure which became a source of great anguish among neighbors who sought assistance from multiple agencies to no avail. Hayes didn’t have funding to tackle it, and health department representatives wouldn’t even enter the house. A neighbor even took the residents to court, but received the same sort of partial action that saw the property revert to its previous state.

Lori Phelps, director of Clare County Community Services, said that some funds for this demolition came from grant money, and that it was being done as part of her department’s new contract with the township.

“I really want to make a difference,” Phelps said. “This is important to me, and I am feeling a lot of ownership in this.”

Phelps said she is tired of being somewhere and asked where she is from, and when she says Harrison, people curl their lip and say “Oh.”

“I love being here,” Phelps said. “I love the community and the schools, and all of the beautiful assets we have in outdoor activities.”

Thus, the new year has begun with some positive steps toward cleaning up blight in Hayes.


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  • GailGarrity

    Thank you everyone for your efforts.

    Wednesday, January 5 Report this