Fairfield cleans up abandoned homes

(Copyright WIAT 42 News 2014)

FAIRFIELD, Ala (WIAT) — Overgrown brush, trash, rats and snakes. Those are problems plaguing some Fairfield neighborhoods. Councilwoman Gloria Matthews is on a mission to make her city safer for families. Today, WIAT 42 News toured the neighborhoods that are suffering the most from blight.

“You couldn’t even see the windows or anything but the very top of the house,” explains District 2 Councilwoman Gloria Matthews as she gives us a tour of town. “I had no idea the house was in this kind of condition.”

Four weeks ago the abandoned home she’s referring to was roof high in grass. Now fully exposed, it poses a different threat.

“A house like this,” claims Matthews, ‘It’s easy for someone to pull a child in here or sell drugs out of. It’s just very dangerous. Snake wise, rat wise, it’s just very dangerous.”

A few streets over, a row of seven dilapidated homes hide in the brush.

“You can’t even see the doors, windows, anything,” explains Matthews. “There’s a tree growing through the top of this house. And next door you can’t see anything. You can’t see the sidewalk, you can’t see where to step down at.”

Amazingly, this is an improvement. Another house Matthews shows us, had brush and debris nearly twelve feet high in both the front and back yards just weeks ago. Now it’s free and clear again.

“It makes the neighborhood look a lot better,” says neighbor Itoya Gray. “And it’s more safe for the kids. Cause with all the grass growing up anything could be hiding in the grass. snakes or anything.”

Gloria Mathews says there were about a 160 properties on her target hit list. About forty are now cleaned up, meaning the brush is cleared and they are boarded up. She says it’s a start but there’s still so much more that needs to be done.

“I wish they would treat it like it was their own, and line it up, and get all the trash that’s left behind,” says Matthews. “Every property they’ve done they haven’t picked up any of the trash.”

But trash or not, everyone agrees, these cleaned up lots are a far improvement from their previous neglected state. And each one only costs the city a thousand dollars to rid of blight.

Copyright 2014 WIAT 42 News

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