City of Tuscaloosa buys abandoned buildings to clean up neighborhood

Tuscaloosa's plan for blighted properties

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - The Tuscaloosa city council agreed to buy nearly two dozen plots of land and buildings in the University Manor and eventually tear them down to make the area safer. It could take thirty days before some structures are torn down.

“The true intent is to revitalize the area. Taking these buildings down is the first step,” said city councilwoman Sonya McKinstry. The neighborhood is apart of her district and she pushed for the city to take action.

Tuesday, the city council voted in favor of buying 13 plots and 12 abandoned structures for $350,000. Police complained these empty buildings were magnets for crime. “They were harboring criminal activity and giving individuals a place to hideout and all other types of activities that really just created nuisances,” McKinstry explained.

The city taking over and demolishing some of the properties are just the first steps in an ongoing process needed to clean the surrounding area.

“Addressing the code enforcement and at the same time, taking these structures down, cleaning the environment and resetting the atmosphere,” McKinstry said.

Long term plans of what to do after those properties are torn down are unclear. They could become empty green spaces for the time being. In the future, groups like Habitat For Humanity could rehab some of the homes there.

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