It’s hard to believe in less than one month an abandoned house in Springfield Gardens that was completely overrun with trash and vermin is now perhaps the most picturesque residence on the block.
The overhaul at 141-44 184 St. is due to the reporting of the Queens Chronicle, which broke the story of the property’s condition after notification by City Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton). A cat litter company volunteered to pay for the cleanup.
Mary Moore, 80, and her husband, Tony McFadden, 76, who live next door to the dwelling and had to endure the unsightly mess for about 15 years, had just about given up hope, when help arrived. Now, the couple can’t believe the difference.
“It’s a miracle,” McFadden said. “I never thought it could look like this. They really made a new home here. It’s just beautiful.”
Not only is all the garbage gone, but the weeds have been replaced by new grass, flower beds and tiny trees have been planted, and the windows, which had been covered by grey cement, have a fresh coat of white paint.
“They are making me jealous now,” Moore said. “The house looks better than mine. I could not believe that it turned out that well. That is beautiful.”
When Purina Tidy Cats, a producer of kitty litter products, heard about the story through the various media outlets that picked it up after the Chronicle article, it offered to step in and pay for the cleanup of the property — about $25,000 — as part of it’s new “No More PU” campaign, which aims to “take the stink out of everyday life.”
Purina Tidy Cats is conducting cleanup projects in seven cities across the country, but the Springfield Gardens site was the first and largest of the campaign, according to Mike O’ Leary, president of Kicking Cow Promotions, an events and marketing agency that is working with the company.
Landscapers AS Construction & Landscaping of Cambria Heights revitalized the property over the course of about five days, and company owner Aaron Smith said he couldn’t be prouder of the transformation and is happy he could help Moore and McFadden love their block again.
“This is the most gorgeous boarded-up house in Southeast Queens, thanks to the help of the Queens Chronicle,” said Donovan Richards, Sanders’ chief of staff. “With the help of the Queens Chronicle, we have once again been successful in cleaning up our community.”
The dwelling is a tax lien property held in trust by BNY Mellon, according to Kevin Heine, a spokesman for the company. The servicer is MTAG Services, Heine said, which could not be reached for comment by press time. The property is the responsibility of the estate of the owner, who is deceased, until foreclosure proceedings are completed or the property is sold, according to the city Department of Finance.
Purina has agreed to maintain the property for two years. Meanwhile the city Department of Health continues to issue violations for the property to the decedent, Eleanor Lane — the last letter was postmarked April 6.