ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An East Albany homeowner says vacant homes on her street are attracting crime and hurting her property value.
City officials agree and told us today one house in particular is a health hazard. City officials looked at the property on Mitchell Avenue in question, and agreed immediate action is needed to safeguard it.
It's a problem being seen across the community. "This is disgusting," Albany City Commissioner Jon Howard said. "I can't find a better adjective to describe it."
Howard inspects a vacant home in the 200 block of Mitchell Avenue. In overgrown brush behind the home is a pool, bringing an immediate call for action by city officials.
"It's a health issue, and a safety issue. One of our main concerns would be a young person would come over here and fall in this pool and drown," said Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful Executive Director Judy Bowles.
Neighbor Wendy Laramore complained to Commissioner Howard about the three vacant homes on the block, which she said have been vacant for at least three years. She said previous complaints about the blighted property to city officials have been turned away. "It's not your property. It's none of your business. I can't even make a report, is what they tell me. It does affect me."
Laramore said vagrants have been staying in the vacant homes, which have been stripped of metal. "Look at that air conditioner."
Howard says vacant and apparently abandoned homes, whose owners are gone, are a growing concern, one that commissioners have to address. "Have died off. The kids got the home and don't want to keep up the property tax. Don't want to keep up the maintenance and lawn of it. So they are just walking away from it. It just blight streets, after streets, after streets."
Laramore says she doesn't want the homes demolished. "The houses gone? No necessarily. I want to see good neighbors living in them."
Howard said he will continue to try to contact the realtor and track down the home owner, but in the meantime he has called for city workers to take steps to make that pool safe.
Commissioner Howard said with the aging population, especially in East Albany, he believes this problem of abandoned houses will only get worse.