Why the Albany blighted building problems continue to get worse
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The blight problem is getting worse in Albany. City leaders say properties are being abandoned faster than they are being fixed up.
WALB News 10′s Lenah Allen spoke to city officials about the issue of abandoned and run-down homes and properties. They said the courts are backlogged with cases on blighted buildings.
Ward 1 Commissioner Jon Howard says he is working to clean up the over 200 properties that are in disrepair in his own ward. He said the problem continues to grow due to the rate that people are leaving the area, coupled with long court battles that end in properties being sold.
“They got to do something about it because this is like living in a third-world country,” Howard said. “Between mobile home trailers and homes within this area here, I would say it’s well over 100.”
Albany City Attorney C. Nathan Davis said that Albany also has a problem with having more people than surrounding areas, but not the land to be able to expand. However, Davis said since 2019, the city has resolved 250 building issues in the area.
But why is it getting worse? Davis said Albany’s small geographic area supporting a large population of over 60,0000 doesn’t help at all.
“We were just cut out of Baker County and so but if you look at these other communities they just have more property,” Davis said.
The battle against mangled, torn-up abandoned properties is far from over.
“It’s a huge battle,” Davis said.
Right now, the municipal court is backlogged with dilapidated property cases. Davis wasn’t able to say how many are backlogged but says the process is created to allow property owners time to fix the code violation before the city moves to demolish it.
“If they do not complete the work in the court order, then the property will be demolished,” Davis said.
That presents more problems with demolishing costs in the thousands and some of that money comes from taxpayers. Still, Howard says something needs to be done as eye sores attract more crime and illegal dumping.
“I would hope that it would get better, but in the real world, it’s going to take some time,” Howard said.
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