Plans to tear down buildings in Tymber Skan community under way

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ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Code enforcement will soon begin tearing down buildings in the Tymber Skan on the Lake condo community in Orange County.

County officials said Tymber Skan is the worst community they've ever seen, and there are major safety concerns with the boarded-up and burned-out buildings.

The community has more than 300 condos with hundreds of residents and, according to the county, countless problems.

"It's the most heartbreaking thing I've ever seen," said Robert Spivey of Orange County Code Enforcement. "You go through and see children peering through windows where there's no glass."

Neighbors said they often see children running through the empty units, playing in filth.

More than a third of the buildings have no power.

And then there's the crime. In a one-year period starting April 2010, the sheriff's office had more than 1,700 calls for service involving more than 500 felony crimes.

That's why the county has spent the past two years working on a plan that is now in place to tear down six of the buildings, two within the next 60 days.

The county said once they are leveled, the ultimate goal is to have the land redeveloped.

"We see a lot of things in code enforcement that upset us, but this is unlike anything else," said Spivey.

One of the biggest challenges is tracking down the owners of each of the condo units. It will then cost about $70,000 to tear down each building.

But the county believes federal grant money will likely cover demolition of at least the first four buildings.