WSFA 12 News taking back our neighborhood

For months now, on Wednesday nights, WSFA 12 News profiled people and organizations who have made an effort to take back their neighborhoods.  But now, we're exploring ways to clean up the area around our studios on East Delano Avenue, starting with abandoned houses and apartments.

There's no doubt there is much to do, in a part of town filled with poverty and crime.  So now, it is time to take back our neighborhood.

Within a two mile radius of the WSFA 12 News studios there have been a half dozen murders in the last year.  One victim gunned down less than a hundred yards from the studio where our newscasts originate every night.

There have been too many burglaries, robberies and assaults to enumerate.

Next door to the station, a broken down apartment complex once home to dozens of families, now abandoned, gutted and condemned.  All around, abandoned houses surrounded by waist high weeds.

It would be easy to give up on this neighborhood, but that's not our intention.  We're joining others in taking back our neighborhood.

So with all these abandoned homes and even apartments, no wonder there is a backlog of houses to be knocked down. What do you do if you are concerned about a house or structure in your neighborhood?  According to the City's Inspection Department, you call the housing hold office, give your complaint and they'll inspect the property. "If we determine the structure is unsafe, we send a 45 day letter of demolition.  Within that 45 days the owner has 30 days to make an appeal to the city council.  If they make that appeal, they present their argument to the city council as to why it should be torn down." Dory Brunson, City Inspection Department.

The city normally tears down about 100 dangerous dwellings each year at an average cost of about $2,500.

There are a lot of clean, well kept houses in our part of town too, with law abiding citizens living inside.  Those folks are just as concerned as we are about improving the neighborhood.  We look forward to working with them to start the process of knocking down these condemned houses and getting those waist high weeds cut too.

We will continue to report on our progress in the coming weeks.