ALBANY, GA (WALB) – Albany City commissioners are turning up the heat on a mobile home park in East Albany plagued by drugs and other illegal activity for years.
Now that a new Walmart is under construction nearby, they want the vacant and dilapidated trailers along Clark Avenue removed, so the area doesn't make a bad impression on those passing by.
City attorney Nathan Davis says that mobile homes are technically vehicles per Georgia law, and so they raise an interesting legal issue, but he says he plans to move ahead with abatement action against the owners of the trailer park, to clean up the run down structures, and we found plenty of them.
For 27 years, Willie Henderson has called Mimosa Trailer Park home, but that's no longer something he says with pride. "This living condition we're in, it's just pathetic. It makes no sense."
Trailers throughout the park are vacant, abandoned because they are unfit for human occupancy. Yet, they remain standing, though some of them barely, on the property.
"This is the worst I've seen it since I've been here." Ward 1 City Commissioner Jon Howard and Ward 2 City Commissioner Dorothy Hubbard agree. We took a walk through the trailer park together.
"As we've walked through here, we've seen one eyesore after another."
"It's devastating. Not only is it an eyesore in the community, but at the same time, it's a safety issue because of all the open nails and tin and aluminum just on the ground, small children just walking through the community. It's just unacceptable."
But it's been allowed to continue because of a lack of action and follow through by the city. "There are laws that govern how long a place can sit vacant after it has been burned without some legal action being taken."
But it appears those laws, and others, are being ignored. Jon 11:32 "It's a known safe haven for drugs and prostitution taking place up in here."
Not only is it dangerous, it's unsightly, and that could be a hindrance for economic development. As the new Walmart opens next year, more traffic is expected to pass by this area, and this is what they'll see.
Dot 18:00 "What small business would want to come in here when you've got something a half block down the road from them that looks like this and people having to ride by here and see this every time they come over here."
For folks like Willie Henderson, cleaning up this park would mean having a nicer place to come home to. 6:59 "Clean it up. It need cleaning up." For the betterment of the people who live here and for the entire city of Albany.
Some residents walked up to the commissioners, thanking them for taking action to clean up the crime and the conditions of their community. We tried contacting the owners of the trailer park, but didn't get an answer at the number we called.
Drug agents and other law enforcement agencies have made several stings at the park in the past several years, arresting people for drugs and prostitution.
They've even been shot at while attempting to make arrests.