The area Huey Mitchell said he was concerned about is known as the College Heights-Ming’s Addition.
In his prepared remarks to the council, Mitchell said that further research showed him that “there are more than twice as many dangerous buildings [in that area] as I first thought.”
He said that on Aug. 6, he met with City Manager Jeff Ellington and Code Enforcement Officer Danny Lancaster.
He said that he learned that two dangerous uninhabited houses had been torn down by the owners, after they had been contacted by Lancaster.
“This news provided me a glimmer of hope that with the City Council and citizens working together this issue could be resolved,” Mitchell said.
He said he was told that “there are still some bureaucratic obstacles preventing the city from moving ahead with its demolition plans.
He said, however, that the council should focus on removing these obstacles, “thereby allowing the continued progress that is underway.”
He proposed a standing task force consisting of an elected official, the Code Enforcement Officer, and a number to be determined of concerned citizens.
The task force would identify and establish a list of buildings that fall into the category of dangerous buildings.
He suggested that the task force provide a status report to the City Council, at least once every 90 days.
The report would include the number of buildings demolished, and the number approved to be demolished, the number of property owners successfully contacted, the number the task force was unable to contact, and identify any obstacles hindering the progress of the task force.
He also suggested using The Gilmer Mirror to generate wide awareness of the need of volunteers to help clean up vacant lots in the College Heights-Mings Chapel area.
Ellington advised the council to not vote that time, but study the proposal and possibly act on it at the next meeting, on Aug. 28.
He said there were many good ideas in Mitchell’s presentation, and asked the council to stand ready to give input.
He told Mitchell that, with only one person working code enforcement, the city was limited in what it could do.