BIDDEFORD, Maine — A house at 56 South St. was demolished Thursday morning, a major step in the city’s effort to clear up the blight in the area where two murders took place in 2009.
Cross Excavation & Trucking crews did the work of knocking down the two-story home, which sat vacant and in disrepair for several years.
Community Development Coordinator Linda Hardacker, at the demolition site Thursday morning, said the building’s removal has been a long time coming.
“I’m very patient,” said Hardacker. “The city bought it, and now we’re finally tearing it down.”
The house is adjacent to 58 South St., the former home of Rory Holland, who was convicted in 2010 of the murders of Derek and Gage Greene on June 30, 2009. Holland shot the two men in the street before retreating to his home for several hours in a standoff with police before he surrendered. Holland is serving two life sentences in connection with the crimes.
The property at 58 South St. has been vacant since Holland’s arrest. It has been vandalized and has deteriorated over time, according to city officials.
The city purchased the South Street property from the former owner, Janice Appel, and the city council voted in September to it by eminent domain. The city plans to tear down that house as well, to create greater access to the nearby William’s Court Park.
At the council vote in September, Councilor Bob Mills, who represents the ward in which the property is situated, said the Holland home “has been a monument of tension and violence for five years.
“I’m happy to vote yes … so the city can move on.”
As for the Holland property, it has been appraised at $30,000, according to city attorney Keith Jacques, and the parties must settle on a mutually agreeable price before the city can purchase and demolish it. The Maine Land Damages Board would step in to meditate if an agreement cannot be reached.