Birmingham mayor gives update on Operation Step Up

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It's only been in effect a couple of weeks, but Tuesday, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin gave an update on the progress of Operation Step Up.

The Operation is the mayor's initiative to address crime in the city in hopes of making it safer.

Part of the operation focuses on increasing the visibility of law enforcement in the city's neighborhoods.

Another part focuses on getting rid of abandoned and dilapidated houses in the city.

So far, 381 homes have been officiallycondemned and are ready for demolition.

Another 344 are currently going through the condemnation process. 

"The mayor ran on the fact that he would attack these abandoned houses, these vacant lots and I'm so happy to see him keeping his promise," City Councilman John Hilliard says.

Some of the houses being targeted sit in his district.

"We have 80 on the demolition list to be torn down. It costs about $6000 per house which is quite expensive, $480,000, and these are just the ones that are on the list. There should be a lot more to come," Hilliard says.

At Tuesday's city council meeting, Woodfin addressed concerns from the council about not only homes, but businesses that have been sitting idle.

Woodfin says there are improvements that can be made to the process and he and his staff are working to address that.

"How we communicate that to the public--how we communicate that to neighbors next to this property that have the opportunity to repurpose the property. We have to make this process more open, efficient and lean and we're going to do it," he says.

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