SELDEN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It was demolition day in one Long Island neighborhood as wrecking crews began knocking down the first of a dozen dirty, abandoned houses.

As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported, after nearly 10 years, the vacant home located at 26 Berkeley Ave. in Selden has finally been torn down.

Neighbors said they’re happy to see it go.

“It looked like complete garbage,” said Maira Shakikh. “There was nobody there for years.”

“Overgrown for sure, half the house was missing. The roof was actually gone,” said Daniel Noona. “It’s been an eyesore for the entire neighborhood.”

Danny Kraus said the house became home to rodents, it was vandalized repeatedly and even set on fire twice, Finch reported.

“We called, we complained to the town, to the state for about eight years now,” he said. “It’s very frustrating that you pay all this tax money out here living on Long Island and you have this three or four houses down.”

Town officials said they heard the complaints and they’re doing something about them.

The Berkeley Avenue house was just one of 12 considered to be the most dangerous, structurally unsound, vacant homes in the Town of Brookhaven, Finch reported.

The 12, referred to as the “Dirty Dozen,” were fast-tracked for demolition under a new chapter of Brookhaven’s town code.

More than 2,000 other abandoned homes are set similar treatment, Finch reported.

“Each one of these homes has stolen equity and value from the surrounding homes,” said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine. “If people or banks more particularly, because many of these are foreclosures, if the banks do not tend to their properties, we will tear them down when they become unsafe.”

“I think that’s awesome. That shows that they’re building it up,” said Janine Quiles. “You know, Brookhaven cares and it’s great for us. We live here, we want to see nice things.”

Now that the work has begun, town officials said they will demolish one abandoned home each week until all of them are gone, Finch reported.

The Town of Brookhaven pays to have the homes demolished. They then place a lien on the property that goes on the tax bill. The county will reimburse the town when the property owner pays.

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