Demolition of condemned homes a slow-going process

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) –Numerous condemned homes stand out as visible eyesores in the Ensley area of Birmingham.

Neighbors in the area recognize the problem, and some of them are feeling the impact of it as well.

Romel Wilkins says his house is under attack from a condemned property across the road on 29th Street.

“We got rats and we got termites,” Wilkins said. “All of this stuff coming on and in other folk’s houses.”

The burned out house is an issue for residents in the area, and Wilkins says the city really needs to do something about it.

But tearing down condemned houses, many similar to the ones in Ensley, is not an easy task. In fact, it’s often harder than most people think.

Don Lupo, who works in Birmingham Mayor William Bell’s office, has spent several years dealing with environmental and blight issues in the city.

He says the worst part is that the demolition process can stop on a dime, even with dump trucks and bulldozers on the site.

“There’s a possibility that the owner of the property is going to come in and get a building permit,” Lupo said. “It stops the process.”

According to Lupo, the average cost to demolish a condemned or abandoned home is $4,500.

If asbestos was used during the construction, though, it could cost even more.

Regardless, Lupo insists things are getting better.

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