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WETUMPKA, AL (WSFA) -
The Wetumpka City Council has authorized the purchase of a group of apartment houses on North Bridge Street. The apartments had been the source of complaints for years because of their rundown condition and criminal activity.
"It took longer than we would like to have taken," said Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis. "We finally achieved it, we finally got there. This council saw the need for it. And they took action on it."
The collection of houses sits next to the historic First Presbyterian Church. The city plans to demolish the houses, but a couple of the house could be moved.
Last month, the 12 News Defenders went inside one of the apartments and found deplorable conditions. Deborah Tyree refused to let her son move into the apartments, after she said the landlord proposed to clean up blood, grime and drug paraphernalia but didn't.
"They need to be torn down. Why don't they make something for people, that are low income, something that's rebuilt and healthy for them," said Deborah Tyree, whose son wanted out of the apartments. "Here, I'll tear these down in a heartbeat."
Reached Monday evening, Tyree said her son only received half of his money back. She is pleased the apartments are coming down.
City officials said their hands were tied, because the condition of the apartments did violate any codes. At the same time, the mayor had been negotiating with the property owner for months. The Council voted earlier this month to authorize $191,000 for the purchase.
"This gives us an opportunity to clear the property, hopefully to make a nice parking area that will assist the community itself and become a gateway into the historic neighborhood," the mayor said.
The city has to wait 60 days before taking ownership of the property. Current tenants will be relocated.