Progress in Hyde Park; still a ways to go

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News 12 at 11, January 28, 2008

Augusta, Ga. --- It's a common sight in Hyde Park. Abandoned homes, broken windows, and front doors left wide open. Some residents like Crystal Kemp have lived in Hyde Park for 26 years. She said things need to change.

"We've been waiting for longer than I've been living, to be either relocated or some type of way compensated for what's going on out here and nothing has happened that we can see," Crystal Kemp said.

Kemp said she worries about the contamination because some of her neighbors suffer from health problems. They were living here in the years before the clean up.

"I feel like you should get what you want whether it's relocation and it may not be safe enough to be revitalized as far as not digging up this property and having it totally revitalized. If that can be done than I'm all well and good for that," Kemp said.

City Administrator Fred Russell said a couple of the older and abandoned houses came down last week, and more are on the drawing board.

"What were doing now is just doing some cleanup of the area. A lot of the housing is privately owned and we've gone to the courts to get some of that cleaned up. Some of it's actually been bought by the city so were dealing with that and making sure we clean that up," Russell said.

And its progress you can see in a neighborhood that needs the help. Houses have already been torn down and the lots cleared off. Kemp said it's not enough.

"To still be living out here and nothing has been done. No progress. I don't feel any progress has been made as far as relocation or revitalization or anything for the people out here," Kemp said.

Russell said they're looking for other funding to help the ones who are ready to move away.

"For individuals that need additional funding to move. That's something we're looking at. There's no great big pot of dollars to buy all that property and move people out," Russell said.

Russell said once they finish the demolition, they'll be addressing more of the contamination concerns.

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