DeKalb demolition chips away at community once deemed worst in country
Published by John on
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — Dozens of units at one of the most infamous communities in Georgia – and the United States – were demolished on Thursday as a local county continues to chip away at its horrible reputation.
Brannon Hill Condominiums has long been considered an eyesore and a danger to the people living in it. But legal disputes have kept DeKalb County from completely getting rid of the place in the years since it was declared a public blight.
In order to try and fix the issue with blighted private property, the county has to first receive a court order giving permission to proceed. On Nov. 20, the county obtained a final court order to demolish four buildings when the owners failed to bring them up to code. Violations ranged from high weeds and grass to disrepair and damaged roofs.
Thursday saw 56 units described by the county as “dilapidated and neglected” come down, bringing the total number up to 124. County CEO Michael Thurmond also addressed the public about the progress his administration has made since it all began.
“DeKalb’s continued efforts to stabilize the Brannon Hill community sends a powerful message that eliminating blight remains a top priority,” Thurmond said. “The county has established a process that focuses on improving quality of life and mitigating negative impacts such as increased crime and health risks.”
In the recent past, Brannon Hill has been home to numerous immigrants and refugees. In 2015, it even gained the distinction of being called “the worst community in America” by a local organization because of its high crime, unsafe structures and mounting debris.
While the underpinnings of that title may have been locally established, Brannon Hill also received national attention for the crime-ridden, unsafe conditions that many poor residents had little choice but to endure.
In a 2015 article, Vice.com also described Brannon Hill as offering “a reliable scene of open-air drug dealing, sex work, gang warfare, arson, and killings.”
In 2019, the county says that it now has additional police and safety patrols at the complex and plans to repair a large sinkhole on the property in the future.