Addressing Augusta's abandoned homes issue

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020
News 12 at 11 o'clock

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Following two fires in abandoned homes early Tuesday morning, neighbors want to see something done about the abandoned houses along Old Savannah Road, but commissioners say it's not that easy.

Dwight Williams' family has been in the neighborhood for generations. He remembers it much differently than he sees it now.

"The whole neighborhood was full at the time," he said. "Everything was nice around here."

With two fires early Tuesday, and other recent fires before that, he's getting worried about his neighborhood.

"I can't sleep at night sometimes," he said. "[My wife] was saying she's worried now. That's why I'm down here now trying to get things out of this house, because I'm thinking someone's gonna do the same thing [to my home.]"

He'd love to see the city tear down the abandoned homes and build new ones in their place.

"Get people back in the area," he said. "Because it was once a great area."

Dennis Williams is the commissioner for the district where Dwight Williams lives. He said, it's not as simple as tearing the old houses down.

"You have to go through the process of getting ownership of the property to tear it down," Commissioner Williams said. "Go back and check the title, see who owns it, see if you can locate who owns it."

He said the city has made a lot of progress in the past few years. Just a few hundred yards from the abandoned homes where Dwight Williams lives are brand new houses built within the past few years. Lots along Twiggs Road have also been cleared and will be the future spot for more new homes.

"It's just one of those things that people will have to be patient with," said Commissioner Williams.

But patience has run out for Dwight Williams, and he's ready to move on.

"It's time. It's time," he said. "I have to get away because of what's going on. It's scary."

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