Olde Town Residents Upset Over Demolition Of Sibley Homes - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken

Olde Town Residents Upset Over Demolition Of Sibley Homes

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Augusta, GA -

Some Augusta residents are outraged because a few historic homes were demolished. It happened in the Olde Town neighborhood. The plan is to build homes for disabled people there, but neighbors say they were misled about the project.

The development would be located on Sibley Street, between Greene Street and Telfair Street. People who live near that property say they have known about the project for several years. And now, they aren't concerned about what may be built there, but instead, they are concerned about what has already been taken down.

Because the project is in the historic Olde Town neighborhood, it needs approval before construction can start. Neighbors say they were okay with the project when it was first announced, but their opinions have changed recently because of these historic homes.

"Basically, it was the whole way that they went about this. They came to our neighborhood association, presented a program they were going to preserve these historic buildings, these historic structures," Olde Town Homeowner Mike Walraven says.

But neighbors say they were mislead.

There use to be several shotgun-style homes on the property, but they were demolished, in fact, there are still some bricks left behind from the foundations. And some people in this community are upset that these home were torn down because they say they were historic.

"We don't have many of those left, they were little shotgun houses, they were houses that people lived in for years and years and years, and this is historic stuff," Walraven says.

Because Olde Town is a historic district, any work or changes to a home must be approved first. In fact, homeowners say the historic designation happened because of the old homes on Sibley Street.

"They used those houses to put the designation on my house and my neighbors houses, and once the designation was in place, they just tore them down and said, no problem, they are just trash," Olde Town Homeowner Mike Sheil says.

But housing officials say they had approval from local and state officials to demolish the properties.

"The only reason that those properties came down is because there was nothing that could be salvaged. It was termite infested, it was fire damaged, there was nothing salvagable," Augusta Housing and Community Development Department HERA Manager Shawn Edwards says.

Housing officials say they are storing pieces of the old Sibley homes so they can use them for construction on the new homes.

As of right now, there is no start date for construction because the project still needs further approval.

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