BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — People near Northland Avenue in Birmingham are fed up with blight they see in their neighborhood.
“It’s caused us to live like we’re animals, like we’re infected by rats and roaches and possum,” resident Larry Luckey said. “All this come to our neighborhood and it gets in our house.”
Luckey and his neighbors’ concerns came to light when CBS 42 investigated their complaints. On one particular day out in the neighborhood, a pile of trash was found sitting along the street, not far from where children play. Among the rubbish was a dead dog. Neighbors say the trash sat undisturbed for at least two weeks.
“Who’s going to help us,” Luckey said. “We need help.”
To help them, CBS 42 provided video of the trash pile to Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office. After giving the location, the public works department cleaned it up the next day. The city blamed the delay in part to not getting a report to its 311 call center.
“Citizens can continue to call 311 and get an actual log in number, so we can give them information, where we are in the process of investigating this property,” Woodfin said.
Breaking down the numbers
The city of Birmingham told us multiple departments have addressed various aspects of blight removal. The mayor’s office provided CBS 42 with a report on the city progress:
- Since January 1, 2018, city contractors have demolished 1,147 condemned houses. In that time, the year-to year-backlog of condemned structures has been reduced by half.
- Property owners have complied to demolish another 110 condemned structures after city intervention in that time period.
- As of April 23, there are 198 condemnation cases currently moving through the process
- Housing Division of DPW has inspected 1,688 locations in April. (April) These are reported to be in violation of the City’s Property Maintenance Code. These include issues such as deteriorated roof systems, damaged windows or doors, chipped exterior paint, damaged or deteriorated fascia, soffits, or other exterior features, as well as inadequate utility service
- PEP performs housing inspections to determine if a structure is condemnable or may be rehabilitated. If a structure is deemed “not condemnable,” the code violation process moves in to seek compliance from property owner to rehab the structure.
- On April 20, DPW crews serviced 134 blocks, 82.6 acres and picked up 155 bags of litter (this is all in addition to household garbage pickup)
- For the week of April 19, 122 lots were cut, 44 ditches cleared, 1,779 bags of litter were picked up
- Daily, weekly and monthly DPW horticulture crew reports can be found here. These include grass cutting and litter pickup
- Private contractors cut 74 additional lots as part of weed abatement (these are private lots the city acted on after non-compliance by the property owners) from March 20 to April 8.
- The private contractors are assigned properties every two to three weeks.
- 18 dead animals were removed from streets between April 19- April 23.