Jefferson County About Halfway Through With Houses Listed for Demolition

Dayla Baugh, acting director of Development Services for Jefferson County, talked with county commissioners March 21, 2023. (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr.)

Docena is next up in Jefferson County’s bid to remove dilapidated houses.

At its committee meeting Tuesday, the Jefferson County Commission moved to the agenda of its Thursday meeting a resolution declaring 29 structures in the unincorporated community off Minor Parkway public nuisances and targeting those structures for demolition.

Those structures are part of Batch 3 of the county’s demolition program.

Dayla Baugh, acting director of Development Services, said the county identified 200 structures in 2019 that were in disrepair and a nuisance to the community. The pandemic and other matters brought a pause to the demolition effort, which resumed in fiscal 2021.

Baugh acknowledged that it is a slow process.

“We are averaging around 50 structures a year, plus or minus,” she said. “That’s pretty aggressive for Jefferson County to take down 50 structures that are considered nuisances. The problem is that we started out with over 200. It just takes time.

“If we’re doing about 50 structures a year plus or minus, it just takes time to get through the whole list,” the acting director said. “Unfortunately, we just can’t go out and hit all 200. We don’t have the budget or the manpower to be able to take out all 200 structures at one time.”

Baugh hopes that the original list of structures will have been demolished by the end of fiscal 2024. From there, demolitions will be done on an as-needed basis as complaints come from across the county.

“We’re working through the communities trying to impact each community to the best of our ability,” Baugh said. “We’re working through areas and working through that list of 200 structures to make a dent.”

More Updates

Also Tuesday, commissioners heard a report from Jim St. John of the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency. He provided an update of ongoing efforts to address challenges in delivering timely ambulance service throughout the county.

St. John acknowledged that one challenge is having enough persons who are trained in delivering emergency service. He added that some communities have equipment but don’t have persons trained in using it. Conversely, there are communities with trained personnel but lack equipment.

Steve Ammons, who has led the commission’s efforts on this matter, said he and others are looking for sustainable solutions to the situation.

J.C. Matthews of BBA spoke to the Jefferson County Commission on March 21, 2023 (Photo by Solomon Crenshaw Jr)

The commission also received an update from Othell Phillips, the new executive director of the Jefferson County Economic and Industrial Development Authority.

“We get to create jobs, and we get to make good quality of life for the citizens of Jefferson County better each day,” Phillips said. “We try to attract investment from leading global companies, retain and grow existing companies, develop and retain and attract talent, and advocate this competitive business climate to try to make it easy to do business in Jefferson County.”

The Birmingham Business Alliance gave an update on its business advisory services. The BBA’s J.C. Matthews called the effort “planting seeds” in “economic gardening.”