Plans to act on code violations in Bethlehem neighborhood

Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic
Augusta, Georgia Seal graphic

AUGUSTA,Ga (WJBF) Washington Young has lived on Forest Street in the Bethlehem neighborhood for 27 years, he doesn’t have to look far to see there’s a lot of work to do.

“They need to clean it up that’s what they need to do they need to cleanup all of these old houses the lots and things,” said Young.

This task force made up of city leaders and churches leaders in the Bethlehem area are focusing attention on the numerous code violations in the area,

There is a lot of red tape to cut through but city leaders say it’s time to crack down and cleanup.

“It’s getting worse it aint getting no better we’re not going to revive that unless we do our job and cleanup I’m tired of meeting I’m tired of  talking about it I’m ready to get out there and put hands on,” says Commissioner Marion Williams.

But before the city and volunteers   can go on private property the owner must have already been cited so the city will work out which properties qualify to get the pickup started.

“On a small scale were looking at biting off a small chunk of the elephant were looking perhaps in January looking at doing a cleanup effort,” said City Administrator Janice Allen Jackson.

Another problem in the neighborhood is the blighted buildings, code enforcement says there are 250 in   with court orders to be demolished but there’s not the funding to pay for it.

So Commissioner Ben Hasan says the city needs to create its own demolition crew to help reduce the backlog.

“That don’t mean we stop bidding some of it out but we could do so much of it in house and that could help us expedite the process,” said Hasan.

Administrator Jackson says after one cleanup a month later the problems return that’s why her office is preparing to offer some long term solutions like policy changes new programs that will make a difference long term those new strategies should be presented early next year.

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