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Mark McCurry of Realty North, above, said his client John Cook, owner of Cook's Pest Control, plans to demolish four blighted homes he bought on Sixth Avenue Southeast.
Daily photo by Chris Paschenko
Mark McCurry of Realty North, above, said his client John Cook, owner of Cook's Pest Control, plans to demolish four blighted homes he bought on Sixth Avenue Southeast.

Blight be gone
Businessman tries to correct eyesores on Sixth Avenue

By Chris Paschenko
chris@decaturdaily.com · 340-2442

Four blighted homes with broken windows, boarded doors and overgrown weeds should be demolished soon, after a Decatur business owner grew weary of the eyesores on a major business thoroughfare.

John Cook, owner of Cook's Pest Control, purchased the dilapidated homes sitting on five lots in the 1200 block of Sixth Avenue Southeast, said Mark McCurry of Realty North, who brokered the deal.

"Mr. Cook purchased the property to improve it for a prospective client," McCurry said. "He (Cook) has a lot of pride in the city of Decatur, and he wants to see progress. He wanted the huge eyesore to come down."

The four homes and adjoining sheds should be demolished within two weeks, making room for a prospective tenant, McCurry said.

"The property, 1.7 acres, is for sale, but if everything comes through, everyone will be pleased with what will be here," McCurry said, without being more specific.

McCurry said he has found people living in the homes, which don't have utilities connected.

"They'd kick in the boarded back doors," he said. "There were two young men living there during the wintertime. One would hustle for money, while the other slept. I put them up at a motel, because the (American) Red Cross wouldn't take them without an ID. I didn't want the police to take them to jail. Now they have a job with a landscaping company in Athens."

Another Sixth Avenue eyesore should soon be more appealing.

The boards covering the windows and doors at the old Taco Bell restaurant at 2116 Sixth Ave. S.E. should be removed from sight, said Marjorie Perlman, spokeswoman for Tacala, the franchise owners who built another Taco Bell restaurant next door.

"Boarding is our standard operating procedure because there is equipment in the location," Perlman said. "But we didn't know about Decatur laws (prohibiting) boards on the outside ... We'll move the boards to the inside and replace them with a white drop cloth so it won't be unsightly."

Perlman said the building is for sale or lease. She said the company likely built a Taco Bell next door because the new building probably wouldn't fit on the old site.

"We do business in the community, and we certainly don't want to do anything to alienate the community," Perlman said.

Wendell Walker, who works for Sonny's Propane next to the old Taco Bell, said he's had more than 10 people ask him how to reach the owner.

"They want to know how to rent it," Walker said. "I send them to the sign or to the other Taco Bell. Three out of the 10 were Mexicans wanting to open a restaurant."

Another eyesore on the city's inspection list is the old Economy Inn at 3424 U.S. 31 South. Sixth Avenue becomes U.S. 31 south of Beltline Road.

Grass more than 6 feet tall blights a building owned by Nikhil and Rupa Doshi of Mansfield, Ohio, according to Morgan County tax revenue records.

David Lee, a code-enforcement officer with the city's Community Development Department, said the owners demolished the motel buildings years ago, and the building that remains is a former restaurant.

In addition to the man-sized weeds, the building's roof is rotting and also warping near an air conditioning unit on top of the building.

Lee said the city would investigate the matter.

"We've been sending them notices since 1999, and it's frequently regarding the condition of the grounds," Lee said. "We'll have a look at it."

Clarification

In a Tuesday story about the demolition of blighted homes in Decatur, Mark McCurry, a real estate agent, said he found young men living in one of the houses during the winter. He tried to find them temporary housing and said the American Red Cross wouldn’t assist the young men because they didn’t have identification.

Sheila Brazelton, with the American Red Cross, said the agency doesn’t assist homeless people unless they’ve been displaced by fire.

The Daily is glad to set the record straight.

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