Alex Payton said the burned abandoned shells are nightmares on the street
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -
A burned out home in central Albany was demolished Tuesday as part of the Code Enforcement Department's effort to take down hundreds of dilapidated and dangerous properties across the city. But code enforcers say they still have a big job ahead.
The home at 414 North Jackson Street burned July 9th, 2012. There was a dispute with the owner, Scott Dismuke, because the home had been seized by the city. But today a contractor, paid by Dismuke, tore the dangerous structure down.
Albany Code Enforcement Director Mike Tilson said the home was a danger to that neighborhood. "Everyone that we can take down is a good thing for Albany."
Code enforcement says now there are 170 homes on the list of dilapidated structures in the legal process with the city to be condemned and demolished, like the two homes in the 600 block of Burke Avenue.
Both burned abandoned shells that neighbors like Alex Payton said are nightmares on their street. "It creates lots of unwanted crime and stuff. Plus you know kids can get hurt in these abandoned houses and stuff. If that could get torn down that's one less thing that could happen," Payton said.
Both these house are on the municipal court docket for condemnation. Code enforcement agrees they attract crime. "Prostitutes to vagrants to gang members use a lot of these open, unsecured buildings for various things that you or I would not want done in it in our home," Tilson said.
In the last 6 years the city of Albany has demolished more than 300 homes and blighted properties, and continues to work to have the rest repaired or taken down. But this year the money to demolish these blighted problems was cut from $150,000 to $117,000.
So city officials continue to work with home owners to have them take care of their own blighted properties. "Many buildings that have had court orders on them like in this Dismuke case have been taken down by the owners, and not with city dollars," Tilson said.
Code enforcement says they feel the city improves with each one of these dangerous homes coming down, and they are making good progress, even despite budget cuts.
Alex Payton is glad they continue working to tear down the dilapidated homes on his block. "Yes sir. That would be great. I'm waiting on that to happen, that would be great."
Code enforcement says it will take some time, but they are making progress. Code enforcement director Mike Tilson said one problem Albany has, the 2010 census found that 52% of Albany homes are rentals, much higher than the state and national average.
Tilson said some landlords don't keep their property up to standards and that is one reason for the high number of blighted property legal cases the city faces. Albany Code enforcement says if you have an empty, unsecured home in your neighborhood that you are concerned about, call 311 to report it.