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City will stabilize crumbling house

Yolanda McCloud’s house at the corner of Lapsley and Dallas Avenue has been a problem for years. The porch appears to be in imminent danger of falling in. It has become a neighborhood eyesore.

The city of Selma, though, is about to do something about it.

City Attorney Jimmy Nunn said that because of a new law the house, which would have been demolished in the past, can now be repaired. The repairs come at the expense of the city, but Nunn said that whatever the outcome Selma wins.

This is because the city will put a lien against the repairs. McCloud will be notified, and she will have 30 days to reimburse the city once the property has been stabilized.

If she does reimburse the city, Nunn said, then the property remains hers and Selma gets its money back.

If she doesn’t, he added, then the lien is immediately due and Selma can sell the property to the highest bidder.

Nunn said that the new law doesn’t allow cities to go in and start renovating just any piece of property. Instead, it relates only to properties deemed to be in dangerous condition.

The McCloud house has been a concern of the city for five years.

Municipal Judge Kyra Sparks said that the matter of the house first came to her attention Aug. 25, 1998. It had structural problems, overgrown grass and an abandoned car on the property.

McCloud made an appearance before Sparks and was ordered to make repairs, cut the grass and move the vehicle.

That September, Sparks said, she fined McCloud because the vehicle hadn’t been moved and more repairs were needed.

In October McCloud was in court and told Sparks that she was planning on moving into the house immediately. McCloud’s employer, however, said that McCloud hadn’t said anything about moving.

On Jan. 12, 1999, McCloud didn’t appear in court to prove that repairs had been done and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Sparks said that she didn’t have much to do with the matter after that point, and the issue fell to Nunn.

Nunn said that Henry Hicks, the city’s code enforcement officer, served McCloud notice that her house was dangerous and in need of repairs on May 28, 2002.

McCloud, though, didn’t respond.

At a hearing about the house’s condemnation that McCloud attended, it was agreed that she would contact Selma about a purchaser of the house, Nunn said. Within 30 days McCloud would present a contract of sale to the city.

However, Nunn added, McCloud did not keep her terms of the contract.