Macon-Bibb Blight Study in the Works

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Updated: Tue, 12 Aug 2014 07:15:03 EST

A study on removing blighted and abandoned homes from Macon neighborhoods is closer to happening.

The Economic and Development Committee voted on the study 4-0.

There are at least 4000 dwellings around Macon that need to be torn down, some with just the foundation left behind, according to city leaders.

"Blighted and dilapidated structures drag down not just the property value but also the spirit of the people that live there," said Mayor Robert Reichert. 

In addition to finding money to fight current blight, Mayor Reichert and commissioners also voted to create a plan to find the root causes of unsightly homes.

They're trying to figure out how to do it with a county budget that's 7-million dollars less than last years and with no SPLOST funds available for three years.

Under Mayor Reichert's 5 by 5 cleanup plan the city demolished 100 homes last year and hopes to tear more down this year, but as fast they are torn down more keep coming.

One solution may be government loans to pay for demolitions until the 2017 SPLOST but some commissioners didn't like the idea of taking on more debt.

"We talked about grants, we talked about outside funding and that lead to a conversation on actually bond financing to cover this type of project," said Commissioner Virgil Watkins.

Tearing down houses creates another problem with vacant lots.

Overtime these lots become overgrown and turn into dumping sites that drive away investment.

They're another part of the puzzle the study will tackle in the search to solve the problems.

The commission will meet to discuss the blight plan resolution and likely take a final vote next Tuesday on August 19th.

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