Demopolis Council targets dilapidated building

Published 8:59 am Monday, March 7, 2016

Dilapidated housing was among the topics of discussion during the Demopolis City Council meeting Thursday night.
City Attorney Bill Poole reported on six structures he said needed to be tested for asbestos before deconstruction could begin. The properties included 605 West Pettus, 820 Arcola Road, 823 Arcola Road, 1417 Second Street, 501 East Capital Street and 508 North Strawberry Street.
The council approved a bid to get the structures tested, which should be completed in one day.
Later in meeting, Demopolis resident Yolanda Thomas appealed to the council to do something about hazardous property on Arcola Road and Second Avenue near her home, providing pictures of the property.
“I’m tired of this,” Thomas told the council.
Thomas the structures are dangerous in terms of their age and pose a physical danger to neighborhood children and could serve as a place for criminal activities.
Mayor Mike Grayson asked if any of the properties were on the list of six structures to be tested for asbestos and Poole confirmed that two of the properties on the list were in that neighborhood. Grayson told Thomas that the city would act as soon as possible to get the structures tested and deconstructed.
The council discussed updates on clearing out Roman Alley as well.
Poole mentioned that one of the home owners is interested in selling the property while he has yet to make contact with the other despite mailing a letter to both owners.
To take efforts to contact to the next step, Poole said he would place a letter on the home’s door knob to ensure it is seen.
Mayor Grayson noted the importance of getting some action going on the Roman Alley project and suggested maybe condemning the properties.
Councilman Charles Jones, Jr. suggested that the measure may be hasty and could be “drawing a line in the sand” with the property owners by saying that publically.
Grayson mentioned that he wouldn’t want to do it, but the action could be used as a last resort.
In another matter of property discussion, the council motioned to once again table taking action on the New Birth Outreach Ministry property to allow for Poole to look at a map and to determine where property lines are to help determine how to properly split the property between the adjacent owners.
In a busy night, the council approved a two-week extension to the construction company working on the Herbert Street project.
The company had originally requested a 30-day extension with the main reasons cited that rainy weather and a water line rupture, a line in which the company was told was active, has caused a delay that was out of the company’s control to finish the project in a timely matter. A 30-day extension was also requested so that they wouldn’t have to return to ask for another extension if the water line leak wasn’t resolved in a timely matter.
The council concluded that the best course of action would be to agree to an additional two weeks to start once the water leak has been resolved.
Also during the council meeting, Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital requested help to pay for an outside, independent evaluator to come in and assess all hospital programs to help determine what the hospital needs to do improve and what programs may need to be cut.
BWWMH requested $27,500 from the city, which will cover a third of the cost, and the request was approved.
The hospital noted that it will cover a third of the price and the Marengo County Commission had agreed verbally to pay the other portion.
In other matters, the council approved the lease to continue using Yamaha golf carts at the Ravine and budget adjustments pertaining to the Demopolis Police Department.

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