“Should we hold the city to the same standard that we hold every other property owner to?” Bernal said. “Yes, we should.”
The alley in the back of the Cedar Street home is one of scores in the city last owned by the Essex Company, which helped found Lawrence in the 1840s. The company legally abandoned the alleys in 1992. There is now no owner of record.
The lot on the west is owned by James Maroon, a former real estate investor from Methuen who said he is no longer in the business. He said the city has begun foreclosing on the property, which he said he is not opposing.
In the meantime, Serrano, who works at a Whole Foods in Bedford, said he is considering selling the house he bought five years ago and moving to Haverhill, Methuen or Andover with his wife and kids, an 8-year-old boy and 7- and 2-year-old daughters.
“It’s disgusting,” Lillian Serrano said. “What if the kids get stuck with a needle? They’re kids. They don’t know what those things are.”