PRICHARD, Ala. (WALA) – The City of Prichard is continuing a campaign, this week, to fight blight and crime.
Starting at 8 a.m. Monday, July 14, wrecking crews demolished an abandoned building on West Main Street. It was the second abandoned building to be destroyed as part of this campaign.
The first was on St. Stephens Road. Wrecking crews destroyed it Tuesday, July 8.
It’s two down and nine to go in what the City of Prichard is calling a battle against blight.
The city is tearing down abandoned homes and buildings to try to beautify neighborhoods.
But, there’s another important important reason for the crackdown: the safety of people who live in the community.
“TRYING TO MAKE THE COMMUNITY SAFER”
Monday morning, crews demolished the abandoned home at 3137 West Main Street.
Prichard Mayor Troy Ephriam said, “At the end of the day, we’re just trying to make the community safer, make it stronger, make it look better at the same time.”
It was the job of Environmental Officer Shantel Williams to check out the property before demolition could begin.
When asked what it was like when she first stepped for in the home, Williams said,
“It was horrible, actually. Nothing inside the property: no windows, no doors, no anything.”
But, Williams said she did see “rats, rodents, snakes.”
ABANDONED HOMES AND CRIME
Prichard city officials said demolishing abandoned homes does more than just improve the looks of a neighborhood.
Police said it can help fight crime, because many such buildings are magnets for criminal activity and drug use.
Ephriam said, “A lot of our abandoned, overgrown structures that we still have are harboring a lot of criminal negligence throughout our city. This gives us one opportunity to take one less structure away from that chance of happening in our community.”
People we talked to who live near the abandoned homes will be glad to see them go.
Shirley Forester lives near one such home and said, “You see people going in and out of there at night and when it starts to get dark.”
Lonnie Curtis lives near another one and said, “It just creates a lot of problems, you know. People are always in and out, and you don’t never know what’s going on.”
FINDING THE OWNER CAN BE DIFFICULT
Mayor Ephriam said it can take months to find the owner of abandoned home and get a court order to allow demolition.
He said Prichard residents who have an abandoned home in their neighborhood, should call the city’s environmental department and, if possible, “let us know who these property owners are.”
The next home to be demolished is 4008 West Main Street next Monday.