The city of Newnan is now the owner of five substandard homes on Murray Street, with the intent of replacing them with new, affordable homes with a focus on home ownership.
The five houses on Murray Street are in addition to two lots that the city already owns on the street.
The city council voted Tuesday to ratify the purchase of the five homes: 50, 53, 54, 62 and 65 Murray Street, for a total purchase price of $210,000.
Demolition hearings on four of the homes are set for Nov. 23. A demolition hearing has already been held on the fifth home, which is fire damaged.
The city decided to purchase the homes after being approached by the owner of four of the homes. According to Phillips, the homes were in disrepair, the tenants were not paying rent and the homeowner “had no interest in maintaining the ownership of them.”
City staff took the issue to the council, which discussed it in a closed executive session. The city already owns two vacant lots on Murray Street, Phillips said.
According to Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips, only two of the homes are occupied and the city has been in contact with the two tenants. One has already found a place to move, but the other hasn't been successful. The city is working with the tenant, with the help of the Housing Authority of Newnan, to try to find the tenant a new home, Phillips said.
One of the tenants, Phyllis Hinton, said she has not heard from the city at all, other than signs posted in her yard and on her door. She has no idea where she is going to go. Hinton said she has lived in the house for about 19 years. She said she’s not sure how quickly she will be forced to move, but hopes to at least be able to spend one more Thanksgiving and maybe even one more Christmas there.
With the loss of rental homes from the March 26 tornado, “there really isn’t anywhere to go,” Hinton said. There was some roof damage from the tornado and she said she hasn’t heard from her landlord since the tornado.
Though city officials said only two homes are officially occupied, another house has vehicles in the yard and personal belongings on the porch. Hinton said that neighbor had already been told to leave and has been working on getting his things out.
Phillips said that the city had questions about that home, with the items outside. City officials had searched utility records to try and find a tenant, without success.
There's no set timeline for the demolition of the occupied homes. The council won’t hear the demolition request until late November. Even if the tenants were able to find new homes quickly, demolition probably won't occur until the end of the year, Phillips said.
Hinton said she plans to attend the demolition hearing and hopes to be able to speak.
After the homes are demolished, the intention is to transfer the lots to the Newnan Urban Redevelopment Agency, which will build new homes. The intent is to have an architect design homes that are historically compatible with a mill village, and the hopes are to be able to build something that is functional and affordable, according to Phillips.
The LINC trail is being built through the area, but the construction didn't impact any homes, according to Phillips. However, the construction of The LINC "created some interest from the council to try to redevelop the street," he said.
Around the same time the city was considering buying the four homes, a substandard housing action was being considered against the fire-damaged home. The council adopted a resolution requiring the owner to either repair or demolish the home, then decided to see if the owner of that house had any interest in selling it. The owner did, and the council decided to buy that house as well.