Four homes on Murray Street will be torn down after Jan. 31 following a vote from the Newnan City Council at its meeting Tuesday.
The four homes, located at 50, 53, 54 and 65 Murray St., will be torn down and eventually replaced with newer homes with the assistance of the Newnan Urban Redevelopment Agency.
All four homes were built around 1930. According to city regulations, structures 50 years old or older must go before the city council for demolition. The city officially completed the purchase of the properties in September, according to city attorney Bradford Sears.
During the meeting, Councilwoman Cynthia Jenkins questioned whether or not the city had looked at the houses “in detail” to see if the city could rehabilitate the properties, rather than tearing them down.
The houses are located in the Cotton Mills neighborhood of Newnan, a historic district of the city. The four houses, according to city officials, were all dilapidated, and the cost of rehabilitating the houses would have exceeded their assessed value.
“I think that, before we just blanketly tear them all down, I think some sort of analysis of whether or not these homes would be livable if we were to gut-rehab them and the cost benefit of doing so, or the cost benefit of tearing them down and saying we’re better off starting all over,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said she did not want to skip “that very important step.”
In response, Councilman Paul Guillaume said he had “no desire” to discuss the cost benefit of rehabilitation.
“The way I look, and I’ve been by them, and sat in front of each one of them, the way I look at it, I’d have to ask you, how long have they been in that condition?” Guillaume said. “And what did the city do to bring any type of encouragement to the owners to rehab them, bring them up to standard. They’ve been this way for quite some time, that would be fair to say, correct? To me, the logical, prudent thing to do, they’ve already been assessed properly, the prudent thing to do is to start all over again and create a new project or a new house. I understand they’re in a historic area, but these houses are, quite frankly, run down.”
Guillaume said rehabbing the homes would be “excessive” and he said he didn’t see any reason to evaluate the homes.
The city council held a public hearing for the demolition of the homes. Only one speaker, Phyllis Hampton, who lives at one of the homes, asked for when she needed to be out, and then made one request of the city.
“I just want to have my last Thanksgiving and my last Christmas there,” Hampton said.
The city agreed to that request, and pushed back the demolition to Jan. 31, 2022.
Mayor Keith Brady said that the city’s intention with the properties is to build new houses in the area, with the assistance of the Newnan Urban Redevelopment Agency.
“The intent of the city is to turn the vacant lots over to the Newnan Urban Redevelopment Agency so they can go out and hire contractors to build appropriate housing up and down Murray Street,” Brady said. “It’s not to leave the neighborhood empty, but to provide decent, livable, affordable housing.”
Brady said the city’s intention is not to be punitive, but to provide decent housing.