Church St. home to be sold by city

Published 5:27pm Saturday, August 10, 2013

The city of Selma could be selling a dilapidated residential property it owns on Church Street in the near future.

Members of the Selma City Council have questioned the mayor and other city officials on the process for demolishing abandoned homes — something each council member in all eight wards deals with daily, weekly and monthly.

But Ward 3 Councilmember Greg Bjelke said he was passing by a home in bad shape in his car last week and decided something needed to be done. A residential property at 907 Church Street, which is on the corner of Church Street and J.L. Chestnut Boulevard, is owned by the city and in bad shape.

Bjelke said the city does not necessarily need to be in the real estate business either.

“I want to sell it and either use it for more money for demolition [for other abandoned homes] or I just wanted to put it up for bids,” Bjelke said. “It’s in decent shape now, but it wont be long before it is not in good shape. I think someone can buy it and fix it up … and we don’t need to be in the real estate business.”

He said after some research, he learned the city owns more than 10 other lots and residential properties in his ward. It owns more across the city.

The city owns the home next to the 907 property and uses it for storage, as well as the property behind the 907 location on Tremont Street.

“But we weren’t using this lot so I thought why don’t we sell it,” Bjelke asked.

His plan is to use the funds generated from the sale to go towards beautification of some lots or even demolition of others. He said dealing with abandoned homes is something constituents complain about, and it is something that costs money.

“I would like to move on and find other houses the city owns and even lots they own,” Bjelke said. “I would like to see the city make a reasonable amount of money and we would ask the owners to fix it up, so it’s a win-win for everybody.”

Council President Corey Bowie said upon voting, he would be in favor of, “anything where the city could generate revenue to tear down some of these abandoned homes.”

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