Preschool owner says eyesores threatening safety

by: Rachel Stockman Updated:

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ATLANTA - The owner of a local preschool says the eyesore next her school is attracting garbage, crime and causing major safety issues. Emily Hayden says the latest discovery put her over the edge.  

“The smell was wafting across our property, it is just a sad situation,” said Emily Hayden, the preschool’s owner.

Channel 2 Action News shot video earlier this month as Atlanta police investigators pulled the body from the abandoned house next to her preschool on North Avenue. Neighbors suspect it was a homeless person.

In just a few days, Grow Montessori will be bustling with small children but through the window, not even 20 feet away on North Avenue in Northwest Atlanta, you can see the problems that have been plaguing the community for years.

“I believe the first time I petitioned the city through office of code compliance was in 2011,” said Hayden, the owner of the preschool, which is also located in her home on Griffin street. .

 “People want to know they are going to be safe when everything other week you find dead bodies, open drug sales, that is problem,” said Demarcus Peters, the president of the English Avenue Neighborhood Association.

The area, near the preschool, is just about a mile from where construction has begun for the new Falcons stadium.

“That same energy, the same political will should be invested in clearing vacant and abandoned properties,” said Peters.

Code enforcement has cited the property several times, and are in the process of tracking down the owners, at last check. It has been deemed hazardous.  Neighbors are hopeful the  new Code Enforcement commission created by the city, will help prioritize some of the hundreds of abandoned properties .

“We can’t expect immediate resolution but for this one house I am just hopeful that can get some assistance to board up and clean up the lot on this one property so when we start school on the 11th, our children don’t have to deal with this mess,” Hayden said.  The community is working to move Hayden’s school to a nearby abandoned facility, they are working with community leader to purchase the property and begin construction for a community center. Read more here: http://www.gofundme.com/6o8vb4