Abandoned Homes Cause For Concern
Abandoned homes are scattered in neighborhoods all over the city of Macon but city leaders are taking steps to solve the problem. In the last four and a half years, the city has torn down 400 abandoned or dilapidated houses but most people in the neighborhoods said it’s not enough.
Laverne Watts has lived in the Antioch neighborhood for 30 years. In that time she's seen several houses around her home become abandoned.
"I feel really badly about it because it's dangerous and because I have grand kids over here and it's dangerous, people living in them," Watts said.
Watts has seen people will break into the run down homes and now she's fearful of leaving her house.
"You always have to watch yourself, when you come out at night or early in the morning you have to watch yourself because you don't know who's going to grab you," she said.
Meanwhile on Patterson Street, graffiti graces the abandoned homes with the words,”tear me down.” Residents like Liz Wilson, who lives across the street from a couple of them, said she would do it immediately if she had the resources.
"Bring the crane and bulldozer I'll drive it and get rid of it," Wilson said.
That's exactly what the city plans to do in the next three to four weeks as they prepare to demolish ten to twelve homes on six different streets. However, many people in these neighborhoods say it isn't enough.
"I don't see where the city is doing a little of anything a much of nothing. I don't see it," Wilson said.
As more houses become condemned people say it attracts unwanted visitors.
"It's a haven for drug addicts and stuff like that,” resident Calvin Spivey said.
City spokesperson Chris Floore said it costs more than $1,000 to tear down a home and the city charges the owner by putting a lien on the property. The city is trying to align future demolitions of homes with the city's 5x5x5 program which would clean up one of the five wards for five straight weeks in five blocks.