City of Scottsboro plans to get rid of abandoned properties

The mayor of Scottsboro says they've applied for a $250,000 grant that would be used to destroy abandoned houses.

Posted: Jul 23, 2019 8:03 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2019 8:10 PM

The City of Scottsboro says it has a plan to get rid of abandoned properties that are bringing down neighborhoods and making communities less safe.

The mayor of Scottsboro says they've applied for a $250,000 grant that would be used to destroy abandoned houses.

Jane Benford says she's lived in Scottsboro for 15 years, and abandoned houses are everywhere in her neighborhood. She lives on Alabama Avenue, near Maple Street, where numerous properties are targeted to be knocked down.

"In my neighborhood, several abandoned houses, but I see people in them from time to time. I can only make the assumption they are squatters," she said. "It's what I don't understand, how they can let them go for so long."

Now, the city is trying to do something about it. It's applied for a federal grant where thousands of dollars would go toward destroying these abandoned buildings. The city has targeted 24 plots for demolition.

The mayor says these properties attract the wrong type of people and can incite crime. He says there was a case this year where a body was found in a house after a drug deal.

Benford says the properties bring other dangers.

"For the disease, and blight, and rats, and all the vermin that tend to come into a house when it's not occupied," she said.

The Scottsboro Police Department says it doesn't get many calls out to the abandoned areas, but squatting and drug deals are the main concerns.

Benford wants the properties cleared, but also wants to see help given to the people using them.

"Well, I'd like to see something for these people, help given to them, and um, put them in rehab," she said.

Right now, there is no timeline on when the city will find out if it gets the grant, but it says it's confident it will happen.

The 24 property owners have all signed off to be part of the program, and they get to keep their properties once the buildings are demolished.

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