Concerns over blighted properties in Savannah - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Concerns over blighted properties in Savannah

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

During last week’s council meeting, Savannah's District 3 Alderman John Hall brought attention to the need to hold property owners more accountable for the way houses and yards look.

It's an issue he says the city will be more aggressive toward, especially as they look to bring in businesses to areas like the Pennsylvania Avenue corridor.

This isn't a new issue, definitely not one that's popped up overnight, but Alderman Hall says blighted properties need to be addressed, and swiftly, by the city.

Alderman Hall got the issue back out in the open during the last council meeting. And while a specific timeline wasn't given, Hall says property owners who let looks of their yards and houses go by the wayside, should consider themselves on notice. Adding if they don't comply they'll soon go before a judge.

Hall says the “broken window effect” has gone on too long in his district, explaining that run-down properties take a toll on residents who do the right thing, and also discourages new businesses from setting up shop in the area. 

"We are in negotiations with some people right now that I can't name, but we have some people that want to come in and do business in this corridor. But we need to clean it up first and make it more desirable,” said Alderman Hall.

WTOC spoke to some folks who live and work around the Savannah Gardens and Avondale neighborhoods Monday afternoon as well. While it's an issue they say has progressively worsened over the years, it's clear some still try to do the right thing.

"I clean up, pick up paper. I do anything to make it look good to me, because that's where I live, and I want it to look good. When people pass by they can say, 'well, there is somebody in this neighborhood that cares," said resident, James Parrish. 

They’re not the problem, says Alderman Hall, it's the people who repeatedly let their homes and yards fall into disrepair.

"They are being put on notice, you will be in front of a judge if you don't do the right thing,” Alderman Hall said.

But he acknowledges existing ordinances meant to hold property owners accountable aren't strong enough.

Damico Battle made some observations of his own in the Avondale neighborhood.

"As you can see around here, they do what they want to do. They got shopping buggies, trash everywhere, and then you go to church on the corner trying to upkeep their cleanliness, keep their property manicured. The people across the street do likewise,” said Battle.

Battle says he hopes city officials can make good on their enforcement promises.

"I think it is very important that if he is going to mention something of that magnitude, that they should move forward with it. You know, get rid of the abandoned buildings and things that cause it to be an eyesore to everybody, especially when it comes to property,” said Battle.

Alderman Hall says he commends the residents who do take pride in their homes and neighborhoods, and encourages them to keep it up. 

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