Bessemer makes a push to tear down abandoned structures

Bessemer makes a push to tear down abandoned structures

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One of the many vacant homes around the city. Source: Damian Johnson/WBRC One of the many vacant homes around the city. Source: Damian Johnson/WBRC
Another abandoned property. Source: Damian Johnson/WBRC Another abandoned property. Source: Damian Johnson/WBRC
BESSEMER, AL (WBRC) -

There's a push to get rid of Bessemer's abandoned buildings.

It's not hard to miss them as you drive through parts of Bessemer and some structures have been empty for years. Mayor Kenneth Gulley knows they're there and wants to do something to clean up the city.

"Some are heir properties. Some burned out structures. Some were rental properties and became run down that way," Gulley said.

Some are even havens for criminal activity that officials feel can be stopeed. So Gulley allocated $500,000 to tear down some of the homes. There have been more than 70 structures torn down including at least one in Brenda Stewart's neighborhood.

She's lived along 25th Street for nearly 25 years and welcomes the demolition. There are still four houses she still has concerns over.

"Drug addicts going in, burning it down, catching someone else's house on fire, you know," she said.

She also worries about how the crime could affect her children.

"I feel it should be taken away so we can give children a chance to do better," Stewart said.

Some neighbors say tearing down the homes isn't enough. They want new homes to be built in the hopes of bringing more people back to the city. Mayor Gulley thinks the demolition is a positive first step.

"It's exciting to see them come down and it's a quality of life issue," he said.

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