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Macon-Bibb seeks new blight solution | News

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Macon-Bibb seeks new blight solution
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Blight's unsightly, hazardous, and can drag down your property value.

It's also a big problem the county's been trying to knock down for years.

"Every year in our city we tear down a hundred houses and we use our general fund to do it," Macon-Bibb Commissioner Virgil Watkins said.

But there are more than 4,000 blighted homes in Macon-Bibb, and under the consolidated government that fund was cut significantly when the budget shrank, so the commission needs new ways to get the job done.

"We talked about grants. We talked about outside funding and that led to a conversation on bond financing to cover this type of project," Watkins said.

Commissioners are also hoping a comprehensive blight study will help identify the areas that need help, find legal and funding sources.

"It would define blight. What does it mean to be a blighted area? Is it just the houses?," said Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore. "Is it the condition of the streets and roads. Is it the level of income? Is it the lack of development in stores? What does it mean to be a blighted area?

Commissioners say taking a thorough look at blight would determine the best way to go about fixing entire neighborhoods even after the homes come down.

"What we're trying to do now is do a comprehensive blight study to thoroughly identify all the areas to attack as well as legal and funding sources with which we can attack blight beyond just demolishing the houses," Watkins said.

The commission will vote on the proposed blight study next Tuesday. Funding is still to be determined, though it would have to ultimately come out of the general fund.

Macon-Bibb spokesman Chris Floore says meanwhile the county will continue its goal of knocking down 100 houses a year.

The 11th house this fiscal year is expected to come down Friday.


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