Tuscaloosa City Council approves property purchase
Tuscaloosa City Council approved $350,000 in funds to purchase 12 lots of Tuscaloosa’s highest-crime areas.
The Tuscaloosa Police Department responded to over 300 calls from University Manor last year alone.
The city plans to demolish 12 derelict, uninhabited homes that are unable to be condemned because they technically meet city code. TPD officials said that the uninhabited homes within University Manor are often used by criminals to house the sale of drugs and weapons.
Freddie Washington, the lead pastor at Cornerstone Full Gospel Baptist Church located just outside of University Manor, said that crime in the community comes from non-residents using the neighborhood as a hub for illegal activity.
“Much of the activity related to drugs and crime is not really being facilitated by the people who are in the community,” Washington said. “It's actually being brought from other areas of town that carry traffic into the University Manor area.
Washington also said that residents of University Manor want the city to invest in improving living conditions for the neighborhood.
“It’s their desire for the area to be cleaned up,” Washington said. “Some of them have been there awhile and are quite disheartened with the way that it is now, and just want more input, more investment from the city of Tuscaloosa in helping to clean it up and create some way to revitalize the area.”
Although the city of Tuscaloosa has no current plans beyond demolishing vacant buildings, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox has said that the city is looking at applying for federal grants or partnerships with the Tuscaloosa Housing Authority to create new, affordable housing in University Manor.