Abandoned homes in Bradenton lure arsonists

MANATEE — Abandoned homes in a small area of Bayshore Gardens have been targets of an arsonist who has set more than a dozen fires in the past 18 months, some within an hour of each other, local officials say.

Foreclosures and the struggling economy have already hurt this community. Residents talk of squatters who have moved into abandoned homes and teenagers setting up camps. County officials speak of their struggles with myriad bank records to find who owns mortgages repackaged and sold numerous times.

But the most evident sign of the problems are those abandoned and now burned out homes.

At a meeting called by Commissioner Robin DiSabatino at the Bayshore Recreation Center on Thursday night, residents pleaded with county officials to do something to help save their neighborhood.

Residents from the neighborhood and surrounding communities said the county’s codes aren’t strong enough to deal with the issues in their aging communities, and that they want something written that will help them deal with transitioning mobile home parks, abandoned vehicles, unkempt yards and abandoned homes.

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