Abandoned and Unsafe Properties Raise Concerns in Tallassee

Hundreds of abandoned homes in Tallassee have some people like Jacki Lovejoy who has lived in Tallassee for 20 years concerned.

“Actually, I’ve known people to actually live in these abandoned houses,” said Lovejoy.

Lovejoy says not only are they unsafe, but they are an eyesore.

“If somebody was willing to invest and bring the property up to code and up to date we would have a better neighborhood. Because there are actually pretty nice houses but people just don’t care anymore,” said Lovejoy.

But, holding all of the owners accountable is far from easy.

“Some of them have complied. Some of them haven’t,” said Tallassee Mayor Johnny Hammock.

Hammock says it all boils down to money.

“It’s just with legal fees, fighting them if they fight us or asbestos inspection, tearing down the property,” said Hammock.

It costs $7,000  to demolish each house. The city recently applied for a Community Development Block Grant, from the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. If approved, $250,000 would be used for demolition.

“You got people hanging out at them, doing things they shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes, I think kids could get in there, playing around and foot go through a board, get trapped,” said Hammock.

In the last two and a half years, Mayor Hammock says 14 structures have been demolished. But there are still many more left.

“It didn’t get this way overnight and it’s not going to get fixed overnight,” said Hammock.

Mayor Hammock says, if the grant is not approved, there is still $100,000 in the city’s budget each year, that  helps with demolition.

The city should know if it’s approved for the grant sometime in October.

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