Montgomery residents battle poor living conditions

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Tenants at Crown Point Townhomes are trying to live a normal life, but it's hard when their apartment complex is decaying around them.

"It's just ridiculous," explained Cassandra Walker.

She and her family live in a 4 bedroom apartment in North Montgomery.  Two doors down from her townhouse, you'll find open, empty apartments, broken glass, and signs of copper theft.

Not exactly prime living conditions.

"You be wanting your kids to come outside and feel safe and play.  But how can you with all this grass and empty, condemned apartments?  Ain't nowhere for them to play," Walker said.

"Any land owner that has property in the city has the responsibility of making sure that property meets city code," explained Michael Briddell, the City's Director of Public Information and External Affairs.

The city knows about the situation at the complex.  Last month, inspectors even made their intentions known.

"There was a demolition letter that was issued," explained Jay Bennett, the property's manager.

Owners are appealing--a common procedure for apartment owners across the city.

In this case, landlords say they're trying to fix the place up, but it's a tough task.

"We have $300,000 worth of damage out here. [. . .] When you have tenants that sit here for 8 months or 12 months and never pay any rent, it's very hard to get anything done," Bennett said.

"That's just a bad, downward spiral we don't want to see happen," Briddell explained.

Either way, city leaders say they're doing their best, following the law and letting procedure run its course.

"It takes a long time before we can come in with a wrecking ball.  Also, it's expensive, and we don't want to do that," Briddell said.

Still, residents in dilapidated apartments complexes hope for something better to come quickly.

"I's just not right out here.  It's just not right," said one tenant.

Landlords tell WSFA 12 News they're trying to make it right.  In the meantime, the city is working on a plan to bring better housing to Montgomery.

Leaders are hoping to attract investors and renovate some problem areas.

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