Property owners beware the demolition train is moving - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Property owners beware-- the demolition train is moving

By Len Kiese - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Property owners beware.  Albany code enforcers say the demolition train is moving to rid the city of ugly, dilapidated properties.

The city began cracking down on rundown structures three years ago. Some city commissioners have expressed concern about the pace of that crackdown.

They'll get an update next week from code enforcers.  We checked with them this week to see what progress has been made.

Back in June, Otis Garner watched as nine dilapidated structures were demolished on Whitney Avenue.

"By tearing them down, I believe it's going to help the neighborhood and make it look a whole lot better," said Garner.

Before the dilapidated homes came down, Garner had an ugly view of rundown properties with illegal tenants across the street.

"Drug people, homeless people, all of those people were going in and out of those abandoned houses," said Garner.

Now he has a clear mind and a clear view.

"It looks good. It looked good and it felt good," said Garner.

Albany Code Enforcement Director Mike Tilson says they're trying to keep that momentum going throughout the city.

"What I'd like the public to know is that we are working hard," said Tilson.

Since 2006, Albany's Code Enforcement Department has overseen the demo of 76 properties in the city.  So far this year, there have been six, with more to come.

"We have approximately 26 properties that we're working on in various stages, getting ready for demolition with our city money and then we have another 12 buildings that we're working on with federal money," said Tilson.

Tilson says what takes the longest is the paperwork and court time, with a constant flow of cases.

"In 2007 that number grew. In 2008 it grew even more and by the end of this year we're going to spend over a quarter million dollars to tear buildings down," said Tilson.

It's a hefty price that leaves residents like Garner happy and thankful.

"Yes I am. And I'm sure there are plenty more around here that are also thankful that they tore them down," said Garner.

The city hopes to give other residents that same feeling as they continue their demolition efforts.

Mike Tilson says since the 311 hotline started, they've seen an increase in complaints.

They're responding to calls on everything from junk cars to dilapidated buildings.

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