BRIDGEPORT - In an effort to preserve the historic houses of Little Liberia, the Action for Bridgeport Community Development organization is now trying to work with Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch to determine the best course of action.

The houses are the oldest surviving homes built by African Americans in the entire state.

Finch says the city may best serve the community by foreclosing the homes on the current non-profit owner, in order to put the responsibility of historic restoration in the hands of experts. ABCD has owned the houses for 15 years and, according to the mayor?s office, owes approximately $120,000 in taxes. Finch also says ABCD has done insufficient work in preserving the houses.

?The city taxpayers are strapped, so all taxpayers must pay their taxes,? Finch says.

As it stands now, the public is on the side of ABCD. According to Maisa Tisdale, ABCD?s project manager, the mayor and the city should let the organization finish its work.

?No one can foretell the future and if, in fact, he follows the community's will, then ABCD will finish its mission in restoring these houses on behalf of the community,? Tisdale says.

Mayor Finch is not convinced that ABCD is the right organization for this job.

?The issue today is to preserve the last remaining houses of Little Liberia,? he says. ?The ownership to me is irrelevant. The ownership should be the public and the public should preserve these as treasures for all people.?