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'What's going on with that?': As Bibb nears Blight Fight milestone, Maconites ask for fixes in their neighborhood

Code Enforcement Director JT Ricketson says his department has more than three-dozen lists of blighted properties to keep an eye on.

MACON, Ga. — Macon-Bibb County is on its way to another big milestone in its Blight Fight: 500 demolished structures.

With the big numbers, some folks are asking, 'What about my neighborhood?' That's the question some folks on Cedar Street asked this week, about a home that's been condemned for years.

"I look at that every day, and I wonder, 'What's going on with that?'" Donna Howard asked.

Howard lives just across the street from the house at 1775 Cedar Street, and she has no choice but to look. If she walks out to her car to drive to church, there the house is, overgrown, with trash all around.

"Me and my brother, we would clear the garbage. Because people come by here and throw the garbage," she said. "So, we clear the garbage and cut the bushes and cut the grass, but to no avail."

Court records and a sign on the door show the house was condemned years ago. Howard says she asked the county code enforcement department about the house too.

"The last inspector I talked to told me it was on the list to be one of the bulldozed properties. So I'm waiting to see what they're going to do about it," Howard said.

Code Enforcement Director JT Ricketson says the county actually has several lists. There are 37 complete blight lists, coming out to nearly 1,900 properties they're watching. The people who own those houses pay an extra tax. It's about seven times more than their property tax.

Those properties could get bumped to the knockdown lists if they pose a public safety threat.

Howard's not sure the house is dangerous to folks on her street, but she does want something done.

"A house not lived in, it decays," she said. "It has to have life in it in order for it to, you know... It has to be fulfilling its purpose."

Ricketson says he turned in knockdown lists 11 and 12 last week. Now, he's started on list 13. He says they're working as fast as they can to resolve blight countywide.

Since the county started knocking down blighted properties, they've posted big numbers each year. They've torn down more than 468 properties in total.

From April to December 2021, they had 100 demolitions. The next year brought more than 300 properties torn down. The county also partnered with Google in 2022 to create a blight monitoring platform to track it as it develops.

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