Niagara Street Fire Sparks Questions from Residents: They Want Answers
Macon residents are upset about abandoned homes in their neighborhoods.
“I've been over here for about 32 years and there have been no improvements on the street even though we are taxpayers." said Betty Vaughn, a resident on Niagara Street in Macon. Her concerns come just after a fire began in an abandon home two doors down from where she lives.
Macon City Councilman Virgil Watkins says, leaders are looking for solutions to these concerns with their 5x5 initiative. "It's representing a small 25 block area that we focus on with intense services from our public works department as well as our code enforcement."
Initiatives like the 5 x 5 aim to beautiful streets like Niagara. Seven homes are on the street and five of them are abandoned.
On Saturday, at 8 pm one of those abandon homes went up in flames, causing the Vaughn's concerns about their neighborhood and their safety.
Betty Vaughn tells NewsCentral, " It’s unsafe because we don't know who set that fire and they can come back and set us. It'll stand here for the next six or seven years before someone tears it down."
Councilman Watkins agrees, "These structures in the neighborhood where people are trying to raise families are just inappropriate."
The problem is that has taken several years to happen, and taxpayers on Niagara say they have had enough. "My neighbor across the street and myself are paying taxes, $400 and $500, but we still never got anybody to come in on this street and build it up or tear down some of the vacant houses. We've been trying for years and years" said Vaughn.
Watkins says taxpayers have a hard time understanding why these homes remain standing for so long, "Most of the people that talk to in these communities have become disfranchisement and delusional because they do not see public works and they do not see work being done."
Watkins also says this year, communities in Macon will see results. For the Vaughn family, results are all they are looking for.
Betty Vaughn issues a request, "I would like for the city to tear down some of the abandon houses and to build some new houses to build this area up."