City of Savannah uses eminent domain to fight blight

City of Savannah uses eminent domain to fight blight
Cumming Street is just one of several areas where blight is an issue, according to the city. (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The city of Savannah continues to tackle blight issues.

On Tuesday, Sept. 17, the city and several other partners will break ground on the first home being built on blight property through eminent domain, a court process which allows a municipality to buy a blighted property.

The eminent domain process wasn’t an option for city leaders until recently, and now, all eyes will be on West Savannah as the city prepares to build a new home thanks to eminent domain.

The city of Savannah says Cumming Street is just one of several areas where blight is an issue. They say some of the old abandoned homes on this street bring a number of issues.

Martin Fretty, the City of Savannah’s Director of Housing and Neighborhood Services, says these old structures make way for criminal activity, rodents, and lowers the property value to those living in the area.

In 2017, the State of Georgia changed its law which did not allow for eminent domain. Since the change, city leaders say they plan to use eminent domain to purchase hundreds of properties across the city, including on Cumming Street.

“Sometime at the end of the year, we’ll tear down a few more houses that need to come down and build new homes. So, hopefully if you’re back here around this time next year, you’ll see a street that’s gone from abandonment and blight to new homeownership and hope,” Fretty said.

Tuesday’s groundbreaking is set to begin at 9 a.m.

Copyright 2019 WTOC. All rights reserved.