Albany - A sign today that the city of Albany is trying to get rid of dilapidated and dangerous buildings. Last year, city leaders changed the way they deal with property owners who refuse to clean up neighborhood eyesores. They want to streamline the process to get rid of havens for drug users and other criminals. That hard work is paying off.
Neighbor Valerie Dowell says, "All of the sudden, I heard a big crash, and I looked and said, 'oh they demolishing that house, what a wonderful idea.'"
In 2002, a fire gutted the home on Inverness Road. Since then code enforcement officers with the city have been trying to get owner Patricia Norris to clean it up, but that never happened, so today, they took it down.
Public Works Director Phil Roberson says, "it's a good feeling, especially for these neighbors."
Neighbors like Valerie Dowell. She says this house has been an eyesore. "I'm very grateful," says Dowell, "and I'm pretty sure the neighborhood is too."
Interim Code Enforcement director Thelma Watson is grateful, too. Grateful for the people who called the city and complained about this house. Watson says, "This is a perfect example of that. With their help we can do it. The citizens of this neighborhood complained about this particular structure. So, it has to come from, not only us, but from citizens as well. It's gone. It's history."
And now the neighborhood has a future, one that hopefully won't be cluttered with crime. Roberson says, "You would hope the property owners would do the right thing, because when you have an abandoned house like this, it's not just a problem of asthetics, it's also a problem for drugs, for crime, for gang activity."
End result? A clear piece of land and a clear vision for this neighborhood. What do you think about the fact that now this eyesore is gone? Venical Majors says, "It's amazing. I'm ready to see what it's going to look like after." Roberson says, "we're positive about it. We think it's a great day for Albany."
The house on Inverness was one of eight the city has in the works to demolish and they say more are making the way through the court system.