With First Demolition, Woodfin Promises “Aggressive” Approach to Blight

Birmingham demolished this dilapidated house in Rising-West Princeton on Friday morning as an example of Mayor Randall Woodfin’s pledge to more aggressively battle blight in the city. (Source: Sam Pickett)

Dec. 1, 2017 — Mayor Randall Woodfin oversaw the demolition of a dilapidated house in Rising-West Princeton on Friday morning, an event that he said would exemplify his administration’s more aggressive approach to combating blight.

Woodfin said the issue of abandoned structures was “easily” one of the top two complaints he had received during the course of his mayoral campaign.

“People want their property value protected. They want to feel safe where they live,” he said. “The minimum we can do is getting more aggressive about getting rid of these dilapidated structures.”

At the house, which stood less than a block from Rickwood Field, Woodfin was joined by Gen. Charles Krulak, one of the heads of his transition team, and Det. Ralph Patterson, a co-chair of his transition team’s Neighborhood Revitalization and Public Safety Committee.

“This is just the beginning,” Krulak said shortly before the excavator began tearing down the house. “He’s trying to send a signal right now that, ‘This is real.’”

Patterson described the demolition as “a wonderful occasion.”

“It’s (Woodfin’s) plan in action, and it’s great to see that action almost immediately,” he said. “This will now be a safer neighborhood. We have an understanding that vacant, dilapidated properties — oftentimes, that type of blight is not only dangerous for drug activity, but it’s dangerous for children who live in the community.”

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin had a dilapidated house torn down Friday morning to show his commitment to fighting blight in the city. (Source: Sam Prickett)

Woodfin said that, under Mayor William Bell, the city’s policy toward blight was “not as aggressive as it needed to be,” and that, under his administration, it would be “a priority.” He said his administration was beginning the process of inventorying dilapidated structures across the city and then determining which should have their demolition prioritized.

“So right away, I want the community, I want our residents, I want our city employees to know my commitment to getting rid of dilapidated structures that are beyond repair,” he said, gesturing to one of the houses across the street from the condemned building. “Because as you can see, someone lives here.”