An eyesore on North Decatur Road will soon meet its fate.
The county’s Board of Commissioners approved a plan Aug. 14 to demolish Brookside Apartments, an abandoned, derelict complex located on North Decatur Road just outside I-285 with frontage on Rockbridge Road.
The 7.5-acre site will become a passive park, said Commissioner Kathie Gannon, who authorized $247,000 in District 6 park bond funds to pay the back taxes to acquire the property.
As a passive park, it would include no athletic fielfds, but could include a playground, walking trail, picnic areas and greenspace, Gannon said. The county’s recreation and parks department will engage the surrounding neighborhood to plan how the property will be used.
The previous owner’s plans to redevelop the complex failed during the collapse of the real estate market and the property deteriorated. The owners abandoned the property which then fell to decay.
Broken doors and windows, roting wood and overgrown kudzu and other weeds can found throughout the complex.
“We had sanitation [workers] in there taking out piles and piles and piles of tires and mattresses and God knows what,” Gannon said. “There was evidence of people staying in the [abandoned] buildings.”
Gannon said the county has received several complaints from the owner the adjacent condominium complex who is attempting to sell his property.
The county’s code enforcement advisory committee also has highlighted the eyesore, Gannon said.
“It’s been brought to our attention in a number of different ways,” Gannon said. “These buildings have to come down.”
DeKalb County will acquire title to the site by paying back taxes.
“Acquiring this property at less than $33,000 per acre is a relative bargain,” Gannon said.
The county will then use federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds to demolish the buildings and haul away the debris.
“This was a coordinated effort with several departments in the administration to remove this slum property,” Gannon said. “In the near future we will have stabilized this community and added a recreation amenity for the citizens of central DeKalb County and District 6.”
The project “eliminates a huge code enforcement [problem] that happens to be in the middle of a central area and convert it into greenspace,” Gannon said.
Because of the lagging economy, these derelict properties “are popping up all over the county. They’re all turning into these public safety and public health nuisances,” said Gannon, who plans to put together a think tank to address the problem of blighted properties in the county.
“This one happened to be in an area that has little to no greenspace,” Gannon said. “Not every property is like that, especially single family dwellings.”
It could be several weeks before demolition begins at the site.