East Savannah residents fed up with blight - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

East Savannah residents fed up with blight

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Savannah's property maintenance department is set to propose its new plan this week to the city manager on targeting blight.

This comes as the mayor declares it a top priority for 2017.

The issues really came to a head at a town hall for district 2 residents last week. Several of them claim their calls to city code enforcement went unanswered for years.

Every time Timothy Burgess looks at a nearby home on Waldburg Street, he's reminded of the money it's costing those around it.

"I mean it brings down the value of our neighborhoods because we have people around here who are hard working, who are taxpayers, who are trying to keep their neighborhood up,” said Burgess.

Other homes on the block are just as bad. A few blocks away, two homes are literally falling down on East 31st Street. On Seiler Avenue, properties are spiraling down, too.

"As of the last five or six years, the neighborhood has gotten worse,” said longtime resident William Lipsey. "No one comes by and says, 'you need to fix it up, or do you know that house, you know that person?' We don't see anybody from the city as much as they say they do. We don't see anybody."

The city's property maintenance director said they're constantly out looking for overgrown properties and neglected homes. Laws and absentee owners make their job tougher.

"We're trying to put more teeth into it to get it attention, to get the properties cleaned up, but it is difficult if we don't have someone that can be responsible for it,” said Property Maintenance Director Kimberly Corbin.

A lady who lives by two homes on East 31st Street said she's been calling for over a year to get the city to do something. Corbin said you shouldn't wait that long for a callback.

"Definitely don't want to get that long. If you haven’t got a call back few days, I want to know that someone on my staff is not calling people back,” said Corbin.

Acknowledgment and help from the city are all many of these people want—and nicer neighborhoods as a result.

"It'd mean a lot for this neighborhood because this neighborhood has so many houses around it,” said Burgess.

"Downtown is getting a lot of support from our city officials. But what about this community? What about the surrounding communities? What about Waters Avenue,” said Lipsey.

It’s a question Lipsey says has gone unanswered for too long.

Corbin said she gave out five business cards at that town hall. She hasn't received a single call until we called her Monday. She said the best thing you can do is just call her office at 912.651.6565 or by dialing 311.

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