Inquirer: Vacant home won't be a neighborhood eyesore much longer

mowen@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 14, 2013 

This house has more issues than National Geographic.

Over at 4232 Earline Ave., there's a deeply troubled one-story white house that may soon have all its problems taken care of, which will please a Frustrated Reader who called recently. She said the house has been vacant for years and burned partially at one time, rendering it uninhabitable.

And as with many vacant houses, especially in lower-income neighborhoods, it appears to have become a haven for vagrants looking for shelter, druggies looking for a hidey hole and just plain old teenagers doing the things we assure them we never did until we got married.

The fire damage isn't immediately apparent from the front, but looking closer you see those windows that aren't broken out are blackened with soot. Looking down the side, you can see some siding has been peeled back. One would assume the place probably has less copper than a roll of pennies.

So I went back to the office and called Greg Coates, director of Inspections and Codes, the department that makes demolition decisions.

He said he'd send an inspector over to the address, which he said sounded vaguely familiar.

He then explained their procedure, which is to inspect the property, assess what it would cost to bring it back up to code and if it's 50 percent or more of the house's fair-market value, then they put the big red D on it. Most of the time.

Coates suddenly stopped ex

plaining and asked me to hold, which was OK with me, except for the mind-numbingly irritating Government Center Muzak.

He came back a minute later and said the reason the address sounded familiar is that last month the city condemned the place. So 45 days from that decision, unless the owner comes forward and asks for a chance to fix it up, it will go on the list to be razed. And all, except the vagrants, druggies and teens, will rejoice.

Update

In case you missed the newspaper last Wednesday, I'm happy to report that the city's engineering department has devised a way to address the notoriously slick surface on the so-called covered bridge on the Chattahoochee RiverWalk.

I say "so-called" because the bridge is covered only for two short stretches at either end, but because it runs along beneath a dense canopy of vegetation, it feels like a covered bridge. Because of that canopy, it also feels 10-15 degrees cooler on a hot summer day, so cyclists will have two reasons to be happy when the bridge reopens soon with a non-slip finish applied to the surface.

The fence and rails along each side will have been sanded and freshly painted, and weep holes will have been drilled to allow water to drain.

All that for just $32,000 and some change.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-568-4340 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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