Neighbors Along Rosa Parks Ave. Concerned About Dilapidated Homes

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By Catalina Trivino

Along with next year's 60th anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, is also the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March. Millions of dollars are being spent to fix up downtown Montgomery in preparation for them.

But on a road that ironically holds the name of civil rights activist, Rosa Parks, are also dozens of dilapidated homes. And some neighbors believe their neighborhoods are being ignored...

We road along the streets of west Montgomery -- neighbors who live along Rosa Parks Avenue say they've been waiting a long time to see eyesore homes torn down.  So as they're seeing all of this construction going on in other parts of the city, they want to know 'what about them?'

Dozens of homes boarded up. Some nearly falling apart. It's a problem Wonder Thomas says depreciates the value of her home. She says she's lived next to this boarded up house for over 10 years.

"See, right here! Just look at all of this! There are beer bottles all on the ground, and everything. This is what they do to these vacant houses. Just trash and everything. I mean, it's just ridiculous," Said Thomas.

"A number? No I don't have a number throughout the district, but there's a lot," Said Montgomery Councilman, Arch Lee.

While Lee did not know how many dilapidated homes were in his district, we road through neighborhoods along Rosa Parks Avenue -- in one mile, we found 14 dilapidated homes.

So why haven't these homes been fixed or torn down?

Lee says it's because some city leaders have made priorities to fix roadways along the Selma to Montgomery March to be ready for next year's 50th anniversary celebration -- Rosa Parks Avenue is not on the route.

"The mayor didn't want to put it in there as a line item and committed to use city resources and help us find the money. We've certainly been doing it," Said Lee.

Neighbor, Bobby Jefferson, says he wishes the city would fix eyesores in his neighborhood.

"We would like to have ours up because so they can come through and look at us. The same as everybody else," Said Jefferson.

Ultimately,  it is the owner's responsibility to keep the homes maintained. Councilman Lee says if they don't, the city can eventually tear them down, but it's a slow process. He says the council has approved about 25 homes since the first of the year.

Councilman Lee says it costs between $1,500 and $2,500 to tear down a home. And because of the Selma to Montgomery March projects, the many demolitions are not in the budget.



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