Holt residents fuming state still hasn't demolished storm houses - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Holt residents fuming state still hasn't demolished storm houses

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    Nancy Callahan and John Wathen both live in the 'Holt' community.  The say they're fed up that they're still having to look at storm damaged houses the State Department of Transportation purchased two years ago. "If this happened in any other part of the city or any other part of the county, these houses would have been condemned and the owner would have been forced to pay the penalty in taking them down. Why is  Al-Dot different?" questioned Wathen

   D.O.T. bought up more than 30-lots in Holt after the 2011 tornado.

   "I worry about children who might wonder off from home and get into some of these houses -- {if you'll just zoom your camera right down there -- you'll see the worst mess on this road}, " said Callahan.  The area she's referring to shows a fallen tree for the two year old storm still laying on top of a house.

     Several weeks ago, the state boarded up many the house 

     But, a representative told ABC 3340 almost a year ago, last June they were 'letting out bids to have the structures torn down.  But now David Kemp says they misspoke.  "Letting out bids, that wasn't correct and that hasn't taken place yet? that's right and the confusion I guess is we may have been preparing the plans as we acquired property.  Maybe we quoted it wrong."

      As they did last year, many in Holt believe AL-DOT is  intentionally not tearing down the houses.  That's because state has talked about building a by-pass nearby.  But, that plan is indefinite.

      Meanwhile, Wathen says the houses are attracting crime and pests.  He believes someone may even be living in some of them.

      Some Holt residents believe the state is prolonging demolition to buy some time.  "It doesn't take years to get a contractors price back. This is in my opinion intentional."

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