LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – A fire at a Parkland scrapyard Monday evening added to the growing list of problems facing the city officials struggling to find a solution for the neglected property.
The scrapyard, located northwest of 28th Street and Garland Ave. near Brandeis Elementary School, has been a problem area for years. Several fires have started there, officials said, and it has become a popular spot for illegal dumping.
It took more than 55 firefighters to put out a two-alarm blaze in May 2010 when a dilapidated building on the property caught fire. One of the building’s walls collapsed but fire crews were able to escape unharmed.
Compliance and Enforcement Manager Pete Flood frequently visits the property for the Department of Public Works and Solid Waste Management. Recently, he said, illegal dumping at the scrapyard has worsened. During a quick trip to the property Tuesday afternoon he discovered someone illegally dumped debris at the entrance, in the very spot where firefighters distinguished a fire the night before.
“It’s pretty disappointing,” Flood said, adding that it is difficult to keep people out of the scrapyard. “It’s a property that’s a worry just in the fact that it creates a hazard for the community around it.”
The Department of Codes and Regulations has two open cases on the property, both of which have been at a standstill since late 2016.
Property records identify the owner as Jesse Ballew, a Southern Indiana entrepreneur who runs Jesse Ballew Enterprises in Clarksville. The scrapyard is listed under Parkland Inc., an administratively dissolved Indiana-based company.
Inspectors have cited the property for a myriad of violations in recent years, ranging from damaged fencing to improper use of the EZ-1 zoned land as a junk yard. A spokesperson for the Department of Codes and Regulations said the city has not been able to reach Ballew by phone or mail. He said mailed notices and summons have been returned to the department, leaving the city in a standstill until they can find a way to communicate with him.
“It’s very frustrating when you can’t even get a property owner to even acknowledge that you’ve sent them a citation or they won’t return their calls anymore,” Flood said.
According to records, Ballew owes the city $6,790 in unpaid fines and property tax payments for the scrapyard are in the hole $9,231.04. He did not return a call from WHAS11 on Tuesday requesting comment.
Louisville residents with concerns about property maintenance can call Metro Call 311, the city’s customer service center.