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County to raze defunct apartment complex
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
September 04, 2012 05:10 PM | 1325 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Citing the need to improve the quality of life in the area, county officials have authorized the razing and removal of a blighted apartment complex in central DeKalb County.

The county is set to acquire the abandoned, derelict property — located on North Decatur Road just outside I-285, with frontage on Rockbridge Road — before demolishing the buildings there.

The site will eventually be transformed into a park, said DeKalb District 6 Commissioner Kathie Gannon.

“This was a coordinated effort with several departments in the administration to remove this slum property,” Gannon said. “In the near future we will have stabilized this community and added a recreation amenity for the citizens of central DeKalb County and District 6.”

The county will acquire the title to the lot, which spans seven and a half acres, by paying the existing back taxes owed on it. The county will then use federal Neighborhood Stabilization funds to demolish the buildings and haul away the resultant debris.

The Neighborhood Stabilization Program, or NSP, was established for the purpose of stabilizing communities that have suffered from foreclosures and abandonment. Grantees develop their own programs and funding priorities, according to a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, report.

Gannon personally authorized $247,000 from funds reserved for District 6 to pay the back taxes to acquire the North Decatur Road property.

“Acquiring this property at less than $33,000 per acre is a relative bargain,” she said.

According to observers, the site, once a target for turnaround, ultimately became a victim of the times.

After the previous owner’s redevelopment scheme failed during the collapse of the real estate market, the property deteriorated to the point of irreversible disrepair. The owners essentially abandoned the property, leaving the community and the county with a “code enforcement nightmare” that will now be eliminated, Gannon said.

“In the future the DeKalb Recreation and Parks Department will engage the surrounding neighborhood to plan how the property will be used,” Gannon said.

According to the HUD website, the goal of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program is being realized via the purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed and abandoned homes and residential properties — like the North Decatur Road lot.

In addition to demolishing and redeveloping blighted lots, NSP funds may also be used for establishing of financing mechanisms for purchase and redevelopment of foreclosed homes and residential properties as well as establishing land banks for foreclosed homes.
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