Childersburg demolition project hampered by rainy weather
by Mark Ledbetter
CHILDERSBURG — More than 20 unsafe and unsightly houses have been demolished since last October and approximately 40 more are scheduled to come down.

After receiving $205,000 from the Community Development Block Grant for the demolition project, the City Council contracted with Monroe and Associates to inspect specific properties identified for possible demolition.

Jim Lanier with Monroe inspected properties the city identified as possibilities for demolition.

Lanier examined the properties to determine if they created an environment aiding in the spread of disease, vermin or rodents. He also inspected property that could be fire hazards or likely to cause injury or damage due to collapsing.

Lanier looked for properties referred to as “attractive nuisances,” which could prove injurious to the public. An open door could attract individuals to enter an unsafe building.

Generally, any property that creates danger to the health and safety of any occupants or neighboring residents is included on the list.

Once the properties were identified, legal documents had to be filed and property owners notified of the city’s intention to demolish the property. Owners had the option of appealing the city’s decision or requesting time to make improvements that would bring the property up to city codes and standards.

Contractors interested in submitting bids on the 61 residential and commercial sites were given a tour of the sites along with pictures and descriptions of the properties. The city awarded the project to Sandy Peoples of Peoples Sanitation.

Peoples said he based his bid on estimates of the cost of hauling debris to a landfill, labor costs, and the cost of truck and machine operations.

Once demolished, Peoples said the average house resulted in about 160 cubic yards of materials. He said a few produced 280 cubic yards of debris.

Before beginning the demolition process, Peoples said the inspector gave him some advice.

“Be sure to go in and holler and make sure no one is in the building,” Peoples said Lanier told him. “We threw a rock through a window and a bull dog came running out, crossed the street, stopped, turned and barked at us.”

Peoples said the wet winter weather has presented some perils for the demolition crew. At a few sites, the ground became so soft after trucks and equipment ran over it a few times that some trucks became bogged down and a wrecker had to pull them out.

Other issues Peoples said his crews faced were the discovery of covered wells, septic tanks and storm shelters they didn’t realize were on the site. He said it was his responsibility to ensure that the wells and shelters were filled with materials deemed acceptable by state codes.

Peoples said they were surprised at a farm house that looked fine until they discovered it was infested with termites. The structure was unsafe for occupation.

Peoples said his crew has demolished 23 structures and with good weather hopes to complete the demolition project as soon as possible.

City Clerk Sandra Donahoo said some of the grant money remains and anyone wanting to have their property scheduled to be demolished should contact her at City Hall.

Contact Mark Ledbetter at

© 2013