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Rubble from demolition remains for months

Residents concerned over debris pile on Johnson St.

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    Bobby Simmons has shown his apartment complex on Johnson Street to potential renters who appeared to be interested in renting one of the units, until they looked across the street.
    There, directly across from the complex, is a pile of rubble from a building that was torn down months ago and has yet to be cleaned up, and Simmons wants to know why.
    “I felt like if this had been on the other side of town it would have been moved when it was torn down,” Simmons said. “I’m not asking for anything special. I’m just asking for what’s supposed to be done by the city code.”
    In addition to being unsightly, Simmons said the debris is a safety hazard for children who may play in the pile.
    Simmons met with city officials, including City Manager George Wood and Councilman Gary Lewis in an effort to see what could be done.
    “It’s an eyesore,” said Lewis. “I can certainly understand why Mr. Simmons feels the way he feels. He has every right to complain and I agree with him wholeheartedly.”
    Lewis said one of the options being considered is having the city clean up the mess and then added the cost of the cleanup to the tax bill of the property owner.
    Kara Lundy, city marshal for Statesboro, said she’s met with the property owners, the Agape Worship Center, who have told her they hope to have the area cleaned up by the end of the week.
    She said typically the city gives property owners 30 days to clean up debris from a demolished building. After that, they are either given a citation or a summons to appear in court.
    “The penalty is up to the judge,” she said. “There’s no set fine. The judge makes that determination.”
    Lewis said Simmons isn’t the only person who has complained about the property and he wants to see something done. In fact, he said he thinks the rubble should be removed from the scene as it’s being torn down.
    “If that’s not the rule, it should be the rule,” he said.
    Luke Martin can be reached at (912) 489-9454.
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