Augusta plans to clean up inner city

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, December 12, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga.---Out with the with the new. That's the plan. The new year's budget calls for more money to move out run-down homes.

"Wow! What happened?" Carl Phinizy says of his neighborhood. He grew up in Augusta along Pine Street. The family home of 40 years is still standing, but the view is a lot different.

Burned out homes, boarded up windows, and overgrown yards have become the norm. It is an eyesore for Mr. Phinizy's 70 year old mother. "This is her home. She will not leave, and she prays that one day the neighborhood will come back to be what it used to be."

The landscape is about to change. The city is leveling the crumbling structures.

"It's gone take a few years to get where everyone can really appreciate it. But I think the ones that live in the neighborhood...they can appreciate it immediately," says Augusta's license and inspection director, Rob Sherman.

There is $125,000 dollars in the budget to take down run-down homes. It leaves spaces that will one day host a new home.

"We're finishing up a brand new house on 12th Street right now," says Robert Cooks, president of the Augusta Neighborhood Improvement Corporation.

And that's not all...the house is already sold.

If you look at the tax collection on run-down homes versus what the new property will bring, it's a win-win for the local economy. "It's probably a thousand percent increase in taxes, so it's a good investment," says Cooks.

Those are encouraging words for the Phinizy family. "I believe a change will come. I'm just being patient."

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