City plans to bulldoze crime - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

City plans to bulldoze crime

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BELMONT, NC (WBTV) -

Police cars and crime tape aren't welcome in any neighborhood. In Belmont a few months ago, someone was shot at the corner store. Police say they've responded to a high number of calls in Belmont. Now, the city is planning to spend money to get the crime out.

The city is planning to bulldoze properties on the corner of Belmont and Harrill Streets. Monday night, they approved spending $345,000 to buy four buildings and knock them down. But not everyone in the neighborhood loves the plan.

"It aint going to do no better," said Willie White, "What they're doing if they knock it down it's still going to be the same. You can't change it. How can you change this neighborhood?"

The city says the store, garage and two homes will go. Their explanation is the vacant properties are causing distress, declining property values and the source of nuisance activity calls for police. Belmont has had issues with crime in the past and the hope is tear down the homes to reduce those police calls.

"If you're going to spend that kind of money spend it on some low-income housing or something. Help the people. Give them a place," said White.

White rents one of the houses that will be torn down across the street from the supermarket. The owner of the properties agreed to the $295,000 price. White wonders what will happen to him.

"How do they expect me to move without any money?" said White.

A spokesperson with the city's neighborhood & business services says they will take care of those renting the houses. He also said after it's cleared out it will most likely be rezoned for housing.

"It don't make sense if you're going to do something, do something for the better. You put a house right there what you proven?" said Shawnda Craig.

Craig says taking businesses away and adding housing doesn't make sense. She says addressing the economics of the people will help the neighborhood.

"Put a center right there, put a job link center for us to go to," said Craig, "That way when you get up in the morning you don't have to see us cause we'll be in the job link on the computer."

The city says they will own the properties by the end of July and will work with the people who live in the properties before they bulldoze everything.

Because one of the properties is an old fuel station, the city is allotting $50,000 for the demolition and the expected environmental clean up.

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