'Very disheartening': Ashburn mayor, police chief look to end do - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

'Very disheartening': Ashburn mayor, police chief look to end downtown blight

Ashburn city leaders want to fix up their downtown. (Source: WALB) Ashburn city leaders want to fix up their downtown. (Source: WALB)
They are targeting the owners of at least 10 dilapidated buildings downtown. (Source: WALB) They are targeting the owners of at least 10 dilapidated buildings downtown. (Source: WALB)
Mayor Sandra Lumpkin & Police Chief Cliff Jordan believe a code enforcement push will boost quality of life and business. (Source: WALB) Mayor Sandra Lumpkin & Police Chief Cliff Jordan believe a code enforcement push will boost quality of life and business. (Source: WALB)
ASHBURN, GA (WALB) -

Building by building, Ashburn city leaders want to fix up their downtown.

Mayor Sandra Lumpkin and Chief of Police Cliff Jordan believe a new push for code enforcement will boost both quality of life and business in Ashburn.

"It's very disheartening," Mayor Lumpkin said as she surveyed three dilapidated buildings on Main Street. "There's no hope for this (building)."

She and Jordan said on Tuesday that they are targeting the owners of at least 10 dilapidated buildings downtown.

"They're either unusable or the roofs have caved in," Mayor Lumpkin said.

Jordan took over code enforcement for the city less than one year ago, and he wants to ensure citizens that he is taking action.

"We've reached out to several of these owners, and we've had some success, but not to the level of which we expected," explained Jordan.

Jordan's process includes contact with the owner via certified mail, letting them know the building is not up to code.

He and the mayor believe blight downtown translates to a lack of business growth.

"It detracts from all your other viable businesses that are trying very hard to stay in business and make a living," said Mayor Lumpkin.

Jordan is in the process of taking a couple of property owners to court over the issues.

The city leaders have high hopes for their downtown.

"Conceivably, you could have loft apartments, businesses downstairs," said Lumpkin of one building.

Mayor Lumpkin said she hopes a phrase Ashburn flaunts, 'Community Pride,' will push the owners to move forward and fix up their buildings.

"You can't take pride in your community or your business if you have buildings falling apart," Lumpkin explained.

The city hopes a judge will make business owners take care of the buildings, but if not, the city is ready to take over and demolish them.

One new business had nearly committed to moving into one building in downtown but is not able to. That's because the building next door has to be fixed up first, and its owner is not cooperating.

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