Residents call for tearing down vacant buildings

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ATLANTA - Advocates of a northwest Atlanta neighborhood are calling on the city to demolish two deteriorating former apartment buildings that have been vacant for years and are a magnet for crime.

"There's a lot of great families who live in this neighborhood. It's affecting property values, crime rates and it's having a negative effect on our neighborhood," said resident Trevor Boylan.

The buildings on Hollywood Road near Spinks Street are partially boarded up.

Other apartment units are wide open where windows were removed. Ceilings and walls have been ripped apart by copper thieves.

Residents have filed numerous complaints, and the owners of the buildings have been cited with violating city housing codes.

Two owners were called to appear at a code violation hearing in Atlanta Municipal Court Wednesday, but only one showed up.

"The other owner of this lovely building stated he was no longer the owner, because he'd been in bankruptcy court and the building had been foreclosed on," said community advocate Dustin Hills.

The city councilwoman who represents the district where the buildings are located, Felicia Moore, told Channel's 2's Tom Regan she has received thousands of complaints about abandoned and decaying properties and little is done.

"It's a huge problem and it's multi-layered. First, we have some state law issues; secondly we have issues of coordination between our code enforcement department and our solicitors department. This is a priority issue for council and the mayor. We have to find some solutions and put some money where our mouth is," Moore said.

Moore and community activists said the abandoned properties are a roadblock to residential and commercial development.

"We are a very tight-knit community and we do not need to have this in our community," said community activist Rebecca Jaynes.

The Atlanta Police Department tells Channel 2 Action News that their code enforcement division has demolished four abandoned property this month and have more in the works.

"We are working diligently to rid the city of these blighted buildings," said APD Deputy Manager of Public Affairs Elizabeth Espy.



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