BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A neighbor in the Wenonah community says her calls to get help with overgrown bushes and grass have gone unanswered.
When CBS 42 went to check the area out, we could see how the neglect has led to the area becoming an illegal dumping ground for trash and other debris. A once beautiful area described by Janie Ward is now a community lost.
Weeds could be seen as tall as the stop signs, trees and bushes are growing so far out into the streets it is impeding drivers’ ability to see other cars coming their way.
“You can go anywhere around this neighborhood and you can see the results of being forgotten. We are like a forgotten people,” Ward explained.
The abandoned lots on nearly every corner have become a breeding ground for litter and illegal dumping. Ward would rather not think about it but the state of affairs in the community she’s called home since 1968 has gotten to be too much to ignore.
“We know it’s older but still I believe there is beauty in older neighborhoods and that’s what I desire is for it to be kept,” Ward said.
Ward says she feels forgotten in a community she loves and describes it now as a community “lost in the weeds.”
“We understand that Birmingham is beautiful and they’re working on it, but don’t forget the other neighborhoods that are still taxpayers,” she said.
Ward and her daughter Maria said the city has always maintained the sides of the roads. Maria has tried to reach out to talk with different city officials and hasn’t gotten far.
“I kept getting redirected or put on hold. I reached out to you guys and you came out here,” Maria said.
Janie Ward said the individuals who own the overgrown private lots are partially to blame for not taking care of their responsibility.
“We just encourage everyone to try to put forth effort to try to keep your own property up,” Ward said.
A search of the city of Birmingham’s website showed the owner of the overgrown lot on the corner of Wenonah Court and New Hill Court actually lives around the corner in the same neighborhood.
As for the city and its responsibility, CBS 42 reached out to District 7 City Councilor Wardine Alexander and asked to meet in the area to be shown the problem.
A representative with Alexander’s office says she is out of town at a conference but wants to help and is willing to meet CBS 42 and Janie Ward in Wenonah next week to help find a solution.
As for the Wards, they just want something to be done.
“We’re just looking forward to a cleaner neighborhood,” Janie Ward said.
“It may not be much to other people, but it’s much to us,” Maria Ward said.
Rick Journey with the Office of Mayor Randall Woodfin had multiple departments review previous maintenance work in the area and looked into the next steps.
His full statement reads:
“The Department of Public Works has investigated this area and has scheduled to cut in right of way areas which are within the city limits and impeding visibility, particularly at the intersection. We expect the work to be completed by the end of next week.
Please understand, significant portions of New Hill Court and other areas in this community are located in unincorporated Jefferson County. That includes half of the intersection at New Hill Court and Wenonah Court. Also, please note, the northern side of Wenonah Court is unincorporated Jefferson County and undeveloped private property.
The overgrown lots you referenced are private property. The city only cuts private property when efforts to get the property owner to maintain the lot has been exhausted and the case is presented to the council for approval. Each week many properties appear on the council agenda to be cut. In those situations, the property owner must be identified and notified that the property is in violation of city code before action can be taken. This is a legal process that must be followed.
There appears to have been several code violations on particular properties that were resolved with the owner cleaning up items stored outdoors on their lot. It appears that problem has developed again and is already being investigated by code enforcement.
Residents are encouraged to contact 311 when they have concerns about issues in their neighborhood.”