City zeroes in on derelicts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City zeroes in on derelicts

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August 21, 2007

Albany  --  Albany workers get serious about demolishing dangerous, abandoned buildings.   Ninety-two dilapidated houses and buildings are now on a list to be demolished.  

Eleven of them have been brought down so far. Dozens others must either be cleaned up or the owners will be hauled into court.   

Imagine derelict houses sitting in the middle of your block. That's a reality Angela Young lives with everyday. "I think they need to just tear all of them down," she said.

It's not as easy as knocking down blocks of homes, but the city is getting rid of some, like this abandoned house on South Davis Street.

"We think Albany needs a lot of work and we're working very hard to get us there," said code enforcement Director Mike Tilson.

With no sealed doors and windows, this house, as many like it, has become a haven for criminals. Young wants to see that negative turned into a positive. "I see a lot of abandoned houses and they need to knock all of them down and build something worthwhile," she said. "A youth center, or anything for the kids."

And since no one's around to keep up these abandoned structures, the yards are often overgrown and unsightly. "There was a rumor going around town that we're being taken over by weeds and code enforcement checked it out, and in fact we are," said Tilson.

But that's something city staff is working to get rid of as well. So far this year, 473 weed notices have been sent out and most people are complying and cutting back their yards. "We're working hard for the citizens. We want this place looking good."

For folks who live along this block with Angela, and folks who live on yours.

The city puts liens on the property to pay for the cost of cleanup or demolition.

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