Valley to tear down house

Published 7:05 am Wednesday, April 29, 2020

VALLEY — The City of Valley is taking action to tear down an abandoned house in Langdale’s Reservoir Hill neighborhood that has been frequented by transients and drug users.

At Monday’s meeting, Mayor Leonard Riley and the city council unanimously backed the recommendation of Code Enforcement Officer Reid Riley to bring down the 56th Street house and clean up the lot.

In discussing the matter, Reid Riley displayed recent photos of the abandoned house via a big screen TV in the council chamber.

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“This house has been a problem for many years,” he said. “The Chambers County Drug Task Force has been called in before because of activity taking place there.”

At one point, the property owner came up with an action plan to clean up the property, but according to Riley, failed to get the property back into decent condition.

“They were given 45 days to be in compliance,” he said.

The house has not had utilities for an extended period of time and is in a condition of advanced decline.

“The pictures we see are self- explanatory,” the mayor said.

The city’s Public Works Department can now proceed with the demolition of the house and cleaning up the lot. A lien can be placed on the property, so the city can recoup its cost for cleaning up the site.

In other action on Monday, Council Member Jimmy Gilson said that something needs to be done about the way some people are parking on 61st Street.  He said that he attempted to drive through there recently but had to turn around in someone’s driveway and head back out in the other direction because the road was blocked by cars parked on both sides of the street.

He said he couldn’t understand why people were doing this because they have driveways where they could park their cars. He said he saw one location where eight cars were parked on one side of the street.

“Unless something is done about this somebody is going to get hurt on that street,” he said.

Mayor Riley said the city would continue to follow the state guidelines when it came to COVID-19. Riley encouraged everyone to follow whatever Gov. Kay Ivey said in her update Tuesday. Ivey reopened beaches, retail stores and elective medical procedures will be allowed.

“If you own a business, pay close attention to what the governor says in an update she will be making on Tuesday,” he said.

Council Member Jim Clark encouraged people to continue social distancing.

“If you have to go to Walmart, go by yourself,” he said. “You don’t have to take your children with you.”

Riley added that street paving is taking place this week in Valley. One of the roads to be resurfaced its 48th Street, which connects Highway 29 with EAMC-Lanier Hospital. “Traffic control will be our number one priority when we are there,” he said. “Everyone has to be careful when the work is going on. We have to be mindful that the ambulances have to get through.”

Despite the shutdown period, the city remains in very good financial condition. The current ending balance is $5.6 million.

“Our sales taxes held up very well through March,” the mayor said. “We don’t yet know about April. We also have three payrolls during the month.”

Riley said he wanted to thank everyone for their expressions of sympathy during a recent family tragedy. “Debra and I want to thank everyone who reached out to us during the loss of our daughter-in-law Jaime,” he said. “Thank you for each text, phone call, Facebook post, flowers, food, gift cards and prayers spoken for us during this difficult time. We are deeply saddened by her loss and ask for you to keep both families in your prayers.”