ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Demolition will get underway Monday for an Albany eyesore that was a haven for vagrants.
The former Inn and Suites motel on West Oglethorpe Boulevard burned down three months ago, but calls were made for it to come down.
Neighboring business owners and city leaders are ready to see the eyesore go.
Now it’s time for a new beginning for this old building.
The sound of demolition crews will be music to the ears of Lula Davis.
“It’s going to be a joy for me and my customers,” explained Davis.
The real estate broker has spent 14 years next door to the former motel, worried each day about vagrants living there.
“I have dealt with this ever since I have been at this location, so it just needs to come down,” stated Davis.
Back in June, Albany fire crews spent hours battling a blaze in the dilapidated 18,000 square foot building. It was believed to have been started by vagrants living inside the vacant property.
“We’re getting this building down and we hope that this will help this thoroughfare. Oglethorpe is a thoroughfare and we need to look better,” said Davis.
“This is horrible, when you come to Albany, you’re going to pass this," said Ward III City Commissioner BJ Fletcher. “This represents to me the city working. When Ms. Davis and the bank next door contacted us, this is absolutely the way your government should work."
And it will cost the city thousands of dollars to tear down the two story building.
Albany Police Chief Michael Persley said through a court hearing that was held with the property owners, the city was ordered to demolish the building.
“Here we can eliminate the eyesore. So you can turn something into a big positive for the city,” said Persley.
“It just needs to come down,” stated Davis.
Davis said she’s a native of the Good Life City.
And if the price is right, she may purchase the soon-to-be empty lot as a place for new business growth and opportunity.
“I want to see Albany restore the hope and the dream cause I know what Albany used to be and it can be that again.”
The demolition is expected to begin as early as noon and it could last up to a couple weeks.
If the city does not sell the property, it will go to the land bank.
Chief Persley attended the actual demolition when it began.
He said this abandoned building is an eye sore, but the demolition is about more than beautification efforts.
He said it will help with safety issues, and hopefully prompt a change within the city.
The fire back in June was the second one in the area investigators believe started because of vagrants living in vacant buildings.
Persley said Code Enforcement, the City Attorney’s Office and the Municipal Court worked together in a collaborative effort to bring the building down.
“There are a lot of code enforcement issues and just general crime issues in the city, but you have to start somewhere, so sometimes you have to take your small victories that all lead up to bigger victories. A collaborative effort between multiple departments within the city, and then support from our board of commissioners is what it’s going to take to make sure the citizens get the services they need," said Persley.
He also said the demolition is expected to last about a week.