People living near Hyde Park concerned about trash and crime in the area

Richmond County

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – People living near Augusta’s Hyde Park neighborhood say they’re concerned about crime that’s in the now-abandoned area.

Homes were set to be demolished back there nearly a decade ago, but there are a few still standing and neighbors say that’s bringing problems.

“I had new doors, put on my house, windows, I had my cabinets fixed in the kitchen both my bathrooms fixed. And these people come about a month later and told us we had to get out of there,” said Nora Roberts.

Nora Roberts use to live in Hyde Park. She left back in 2012 when the city of Augusta decided to demolish the neighborhood to build a retention pond. That’s after she took out a loan to have her old house fixed.

“I borrowed over 26 thousand dollars, to fix my house that’s why I got a mortgage now,” she said.

Once those repairs were made, she left her home and it was demolished.

“And I didn’t have a chance to get none of that stuff out. All them new cabinets, the bathrooms, the tiles, they put on the floor, even put a new bathtub in,” she said.

Roberts was surprised to hear that there are houses still left standing in the area. Sgt. Steven Billman with the Richmond County Marshal’s office says squatters are using those homes.

“The problem is, now that we have the homeless people going in and staying there,” said Sergeant Stephen Billman with the Richmond County Marshal’s Office.

And now that’s becoming a safety hazard.

“There’s no running water, no electricity and you have all types if rodents, snakes, and we just don’t want nobody to get hurt in there,” said Sgt. Billman.

He says the area has become a haven for crimes like drugs and prostitution. Commissioner Dennis Williams says the city still plans to turn that area into a retention pond.

“It’s still on the drawing board and it’s still being taken care of,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

But the project has been in the works for close to a decade now. Commissioner Williams says several factors delayed the project — including moving all the residents out.

“That was a timely process and then identifying ownership for the property there, that was a very long process, because a lot of those properties are heirs, and you don’t know where the heirs are,” he said.

He says the COVID-19 pandemic and funding have also been issues.

“And then we have to look at drawing up the plans for the property. It’s not like we can just go out there and put everyone out and turn the water on,” said Commissioner Williams.

NewsChannel 6 did reach out to the director of engineering to see where they were at with those drawings but did not hear back. Until then, there’s no set date on when the project will be finished, and trash, as well as crime, is continuing to pile up.

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