Macon-Bibb tears down first commercial property in blight fight

Building number 54 has officially come down in Macon-Bibb's fight against blight.

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) –  Macon-Bibb removed its first commercial property Thursday as the county’s fight against blight continues.

“They need to do something with this neighborhood because it’s gotten so bad,” neighbor Derinda Hoser said.

“I mean when I moved back here seven years ago, I was just floored at how bad it’s gotten.”

For years now, the old Fran Le’s shop on Brookdale Avenue has stood empty.

Hoser has lived right down the road for almost a decade and says the old store has had a negative impact on the neighborhood.

“Well kids were going in there and some of the ‘dopeheads’ were going in there and sleeping,” Hoser said. “I thought, what if a wind comes? It could cave in.”

According to Macon-Bibb Code Enforcement, the building was rotting from the inside. Years of water damage and vandalism caused the wood walls to warp and made them structurally unsafe.

“We’ve been working on this for quite a while,” Mayor Lester Miller said. “And we wanted to start off with our residential buildings first. We’ve taken down 53 of those structures, and this is number 54 total, but our first commercial property that’s been torn down.”

A crowd of neighbors and children joined county leaders to watch the demolition, because the store was located across the street from where several kids catch the bus for school.

Mayor Miller says it was an exciting morning.

“The children were loving what they were seeing,” he said. “They got the first-hand experience to know that someone cares, and this provides hope and opportunity.”

Although the property was not in his district, Commissioner Raymond Wilder made it a point to come out and watch the demolition. He hopes District 6 will be next in line for commercial blight tear downs.

“On Thomaston Road, the old motel, nightclub, there is a serious eyesore and we really want to see it come down,” he said.

Code Enforcement has already sent several letters to commercial property owners about cleaning up their buildings. If the owners do not respond within 30 days, Macon-Bibb will respond with demolition.

To report a blighted property to Code Enforcement, call (478) 803-0470.

Categories: Bibb County, Featured, Local News

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