City council investigates forgotten lots

Published 7:04 am Monday, February 9, 2004

By By ANNA M. LEE Assistant Editor
The City of Brewton is concerned about run down properties in town, and city councilman Jake Lewis leads an effort to take care of them.
Another cause for concern, Lewis said, is that in other towns, dilapidated properties like this can become dealerships for drug peddlers.
With councilman Dennis Dunaway, Lewis has been working to take care of unsafe, unsightly and forgotten houses and property in Brewton.
These properties come to the attention of Lewis and the council either when someone complains or when Lewis and Dunaway survey Brewton looking for them.
Once a property is targeted by the dilapidated property committee, they first must make sure no one is living there.
If no one is living in the building, the next step is to find the owner. To do that, the committee interviews neighbors and researches courthouse records.
If the owner is found, the city sends them two notices that ask them to clean up the property before they are taken to court on the matter.
A victory in court means that the property in question becomes city property and the city council can do what's necessary to have it cleaned up.
At that point, the city will take bids from excavation companies and then begin work on clearing the property.
The city has recently torn down two houses on East Jackson Street and is investigating another.
Last year, a house on Lowndes Boulevard was used by Fire Chief Lawrence Weaver and the fire department for training. Currently, another property is being looked into by the council and may make a good practice location for the fire department to.
The fire department can use one of these properties several times for different training exercises, such as starting fires on the inside and extinguishing them, rescuing training dummies and learning to operate in a smoke-filled environment.