Last week the Lake Martin-Dadeville Area Chamber of Commerce declared 2021 already a record year for ribbon cuttings.
As more and more storefronts start to shape up, however, there are a few remaining eyesores residents and business owners would like to see expunged from downtown Dadeville.
"We do get complaints," building inspector J.D. Ayers said.
Last week, local representatives including Dadeville mayor Jimmy "Frank" Goodman met with state agencies including Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) director Kenneth Boswell, as well as Jason Hardin from the East Alabama Regional Planning Commission, to discuss, among other project opportunities, a $500,000 grant for the demolition of 18 dilapidated structures.
This year marks the third year Dadeville has applied for the half-a-million-dollar grant which, if approved, won't kick in for another year. Until then, the list of structures is not available to the public but consists mostly — if not entirely — of residential properties, city clerk Debbie Minor said.
As for the derelict commercial properties in and around Dadeville's courthouse square — a subject of ire at many a public council meeting — the city's only right of recourse is to declare them "nuisance properties," demolish them out of pocket and put liens on the properties in hopes of reimbursement.
It used to be up to neighbors and residents to submit a complaint, but last month the mayor tasked Ayers with going about the complaint process.
"Our biggest thing is these buildings are not safe, plus they're eyesores," Ayers said. "It's just an effort to clean up the town."
Before anything is razed unnecessarily, however, Ayers said he tries to settle things with the property owners first.
"If one's not on the (grant) list or anything then it would be up to me, as I understand it, to try to get them to do it," he said. "But a lot of people just don't want to do it. And when you start trying to force somebody to do something, you get into a mess."
Earlier this year, Dadeville and the Tallapoosa County Commission went in on one courthouse square property. Once an elegant mansion belonging to a prominent local family, the house had since nearly fallen in with piles of furniture and household bric-a-brac sat rotting on the front porch. The property has since been paved over and will be used for parking.