MACON, Ga. — This report has been contributed by Tyler Jones, a student from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.
Residential blight within Macon is a problem the city has tackled for years, but under a new local administration, commercial blight is next on the list.
Fires, neglect, the pandemic, and more are all reasons why commercial buildings end up blighted and abandoned according to J.T. Ricketson, the city’s Director of Code Enforcement.
According to Ricketson, for a building to be classified for tear down, it must meet several requirements and fall into the categories of either blight or nuisance per se.
“First off, both have to be unoccupied and they need to be in very poor condition,” said Ricketson.
If a building makes the nuisance per se category, it can begin the process of becoming demolished. If it qualifies under blight, the owners of the property have about 15 days to either repair the property or it will be torn down.
“The whole process is about three to four months, from identifying a property, getting it through the legal avenues, getting it tested, getting it ready and then now we are coming out there with the demolition equipment,” said Ricketson.
He says properties that remain abandoned for long periods of time directly correlate to increased crime and drug use within an area.
Ricketson adds that with more officers in his department and Mayor Lester Miller’s new initiatives, such as the 30 in 30 campaign, Macon will see improvements in the blight problem.