TALLADEGA, Ala. (WIAT) – The City of Talladega is continuing efforts to revitalize the downtown and surrounding areas to attract more visitors and residents to the area. Now, grant money is being used to demolish at least 16 more homes that have been abandoned and unsafe for years.

The work continues on Davis Street Thursday as the city’s building inspector and city planner examined a home for asbestos.

“We go through, and we take samples of what appears to be, send it off to the lab, and if it comes back positive then we do have to do remediation before we tear the houses down,” building inspector Jeanette Jueckstock said. “The house appears to be in good shape, but when you get in it, its not. It’s very dangerous with collapsing of the floors. Things like that should have been demoed a long time ago.”

The home will join a list of 15 others to be taken down this fall.

City Manager Seddrick Hall said a community development block grant of over $200,000 pays entirely for homes’ demolition. He also said the decision will help deter crime.

“It’s been a long time since the community has had this type of activity and we’re excited about it,” Hall said. “Going through cleanup communities and also through our Main Street activities, we have a new downtown revitalization going on and this right here helps with that revitalization.”

Hall and other city leaders are excited about the progress already. Momentum started to build in 2021 and right now the demolition work is focused on City Councilwoman Vickey Hall’s Ward 2.

“Once we started a couple of them, they seen it, then it just ran away,” she said. “After they seen the first two houses go down, they got really excited. It started getting them calling me every night I couldn’t rest for them.”

All the property owners have to do is maintain the grass. The grant takes care of everything else and the city helps to remove the home.

The city is also working to create a long-term, master plan for the future of things like transportation, recreation and housing. You can take part in a public hearing and voice your thoughts on Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. at the Talladega Armstrong-Osborne Public library.