City leaders focus on abandoned housing problem in Cordele - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

City leaders focus on abandoned housing problem in Cordele

Public housing and code enforcement officials held eight public hearings Wednesday morning about eight different abandoned homes in Cordele. (Source: WALB) Public housing and code enforcement officials held eight public hearings Wednesday morning about eight different abandoned homes in Cordele. (Source: WALB)
"It's just dangerous to the public and it's dangerous for children that play in the area," said Irene Cantrell. (Source: WALB) "It's just dangerous to the public and it's dangerous for children that play in the area," said Irene Cantrell. (Source: WALB)
"We've got a lot of abandoned houses in Cordele," said Lin Mercer, Code Enforcement. (Source: WALB) "We've got a lot of abandoned houses in Cordele," said Lin Mercer, Code Enforcement. (Source: WALB)
Joey Boney has worked in Cordele for seven years. He said he believes it's time for a change. (Source: WALB) Joey Boney has worked in Cordele for seven years. He said he believes it's time for a change. (Source: WALB)
Demolishing and removing a small house could cost the city around $3,000 or $4,000. (Source: WALB) Demolishing and removing a small house could cost the city around $3,000 or $4,000. (Source: WALB)
CORDELE, GA (WALB) -

Public housing and code enforcement officials held eight public hearings Wednesday morning about eight different abandoned homes in Cordele.

Cordele Code Enforcement official Lin Mercer and Housing and Urban Advancement Director Irene Cantrell spent Wednesday working towards getting rid of buildings they say are not what they want to represent the city. 

"It's pretty obvious to anybody," said Mercer. "We've got a lot of abandoned houses in Cordele."

Joey Boney has worked in Cordele for seven years. He said he believes it's time for a change.

"If I was wanting to come live in a community and I saw all this, I wouldn't want to," said Boney of the abandoned homes off Drayton Road. "The condition that they're in now is pretty much the condition they've been in the whole time. They're unlivable."

"It's just dangerous to the public and it's dangerous for children that play in the area," said Cantrell.

Mercer and Cantrell push abandoned property owners to tear down the buildings, because of the problems they bring, like criminal activity.

"It's an easy spot for crime, drug use, and a lot of homeless people use them," Mercer said. "They don't have very many options here in Cordele."

Mercer said it's common for homeless people to start fires in abandoned homes to keep warm, fires that can easily get out of control.

However, some people ask why the city doesn't just take care of the buildings. Mercer said it's not that easy.

"It takes a fair amount of paperwork and legal steps and public hearings for the city to go do something on your private property," said Mercer.

Demolishing and removing a small house could cost the city around $3,000 or $4,000.

Mercer and Cantrell will continue working with property owners, hoping the abandoned house problem in Cordele will get smaller and smaller.

"That's what we represent here in Cordele. We want to have a nice place to live, work and play for all the citizens of Cordele," said Cantrell.

Depending on the code violations, the property owners are given around 60 days after the public hearings to demolish the buildings and remove them from the properties.

Copyright 2016 WALB.  All rights reserved.

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