Huff Lane Elementary School is dividing the neighborhood once again.
Some residents in the area said the property has become a prime location for people to meet, drink and smoke at night. They said the recent activity has lead to an increase of trash on the property.
Roanoke city leaders said the building will become a hotel in a matter of months. However, in the meantime, the building will continue to sit vacant.
Some locals told WDBJ 7 that they think Huff Lane Elementary is only going to get worse before it gets better.
"It's a place with no supervision during the night,” said nearby resident Ralph Parker. “People are going to come over here. It's very unfortunate."
The school has been boarded up for years, but the park, tennis courts and baseball field have stayed busy.
"I think we need more of a police influence to stop whatever is starting before it gets bad,” said Parker.
Parker brings his son Isaac to play at the park that sits just feet away from the school. He said he has noticed an increase in trash on the property, including broken beer bottles.
Other neighbors said it's the groups using the baseball fields that are leaving all the trash behind.
"It's good for the area because it generates revenue,” said Eric Alton, who lives by the school and saw the softball teams using the fields. “But at the same, someone's gotta clean that mess up so that's an eyesore but for most of the year it's clean.”
Alton has lived in the neighborhood for about four years. He said he’s seen groups of people hanging around the school but hasn’t noticed any inappropriate activity.
Alton also said it doesn’t matter if it’s an abandoned school building or a vacant house in the neighborhood, he believes people will always find a place to hang out and make some trouble.
"You can't just point out the school and say the kids are just going to go here,” he said. “It's a little bit of everywhere. You can't just blame one element."
Roanoke Vice-Mayor Court Rosen told WDBJ 7 that as long as the property sits vacant, it will be open to vandalism and other problems.
He said he’s heard concerns about vandalism on the property but hasn’t received any complaints in recent weeks.
Rosen said the city is in the final stages of closing on the property. They hope to seal the deal by mid-summer.
A spokeswoman with the Roanoke Police Department said officers were called out to the school three times in 2012 and three times in 2011.
In 2012, officers responded to calls of property damage and trespassing.
In 2011, officers responded to an alarm that went off at the school. According to reports, officers found a door that had been opened but no damage was reported. They also were called out a fire as well as a second call that a door was open at the school. Officers reportedly found graffiti on the school walls.
The Roanoke Police Department has not been called out to the property this year.