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'We're vested in this area': Fort Valley moves ahead with cleanup of blighted home to help revitalize area

Public Works confirmed they contacted the owner of the home and says they are not in compliance.

FORT VALLEY, Ga. — In just a few days, a rundown home in Fort Valley has seen a lot of progress.

It wasn't that long ago that Fort Valley police announced on Facebook that the blighted home on Montrose Street would soon be going through cleanup, then leaving neighbors like Alvarez Mitchell with concerns.

"I feel like it just had to get to this point for them to do something. Now, they're making a post about snakes and rodents and I just so happened to move here," he said in early January.

Fast-forward to February 1, the project has made significant progress in just two days.

Public works crews completely cleared the front yard as workers began to tackle the back.

"Once we start bringing down the blighted property, we can bring new revenue into the city, and that's something we're trying to do," says Gary Lee, the city's Director of Economic Development.

Along with the police department, and mayor and council, Lee is pitching in. He says with less blight comes more housing opportunities, like the one the city will make out of another blighted property downtown.

"We're getting ready to unveil a master plan that will consist of the downtown area, and a lot of the areas that touch the downtown areas as far as our affordable housing," he explained.

As work moves forward on this and other properties, Lee says they're happy to roll up their sleeves.

"We're vested in this area and so to be able to be down here to give back to this community, it’s a great thing for me and it's great thing for the city of Fort Valley," he says.

Public works confirmed they contacted the owner of the home and says they are not in compliance. They also say the cost of the cleanup -- which the owner is responsible for -- will not be known until the work is finished.

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