On property deeded to the City of Eatonton across from what was the Enterprise Aluminum plant, steps are being taking to get this blighted area back on the city tax roll.
According to Eatonton city manager Gary Sanders, three of the four houses that are on city-owned property – and thus under city control-between Thompkins and Edwards streets were recently demolished, and the work is ongoing.
“This is the first phase,” said Sanders, referring not only to the demolition but also the clearing of debris. He added the ultimate goal is to get the properties restored and back on the tax roll.
This sentiment was echoed by Eatonton Mayor John Reid when the City Council, which Sanders said authorized the recent demolitions, met in March.
At that meeting, during a discussion on “Aluminum Hill,”the mayor, per the meeting’s minutes, said there are individuals interested in purchasing properties. Sanders told the council most properties here had dilapidated structures and needed to be demolished.
The city, according to Sanders’ statements in the minutes, received the properties from a trustee in a quitclaim, which transfers all ownership and interest in a property from a grantor - which relinquishes interest in the property - to a grantee, in 2015.
The contractor for the demolition was Holder Construction and Demolition, LLC after winning the city contract with a low bid of $32,500 for the removal of the four houses and underbrush. The project included demolition, removal and disposal, seeding and strawing of the sites.
According to Sanders, funding for the Blight Remediation came from SPLOST No. 9 as a part of the $215,000 budgeted for Blight Remediation in this SPLOST.
Historical records indicate that Enterprise Aluminum Company was in operation in Eatonton from 1937 to 1988. When the plant closed, it is said about 1,000 workers, or eight percent of the county population, were unemployed.