The story recently aired by WVTM regarding a demolition at 4 Mitchell Street in Gadsden is at best inaccurate and more likely misleading and factually wrong. The City of Gadsden is far from inexperienced when it comes to code enforcement and demolition of derelict and abandoned homes. Anyone paying attention in Gadsden can see that the city proactively addresses these challenging issues that directly lead to blight, crime, and other quality of life issues in neighborhoods throughout our City.
The demolition cited by reporter Mary O’Connell was based on a case that started in October of 2017 and has made its way through a variety of public hearing, published notifications and physical postings to the property. Evident in the publicly available records from the Tax Assessor, The State of Alabama is the property owner of record when the Nuisance Abatement proceedings started in 2017 and completed in 2019. Only after the demolition of the condemned structure, was the property redeemed by the previous owners. As noted above, the previous owners abandoned the property and let the property fall into dramatic disrepair and become a nuisance to the community, compelling the City of Gadsden to legal action.
The utilities at the property had been retired according to the service providers (water in 2013 and power in 2006) and the property inspected for activity before demolition. For a former absentee owner, who had abandoned property for years, to show up and expect demolition to stop is unreasonable to the community and neighbors who have had to deal with a toxic property in their neighborhood.
Lastly, for a reporter to allege that the wrong property was demolished is irresponsible, when notices and information are just a few keystrokes away. This story is sensational, misguided, wrong-headed, and has damaged the City of Gadsden.