‘Clean and Safe’ program offers free disposal of blighted property in Roswell

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Abandoned garages, boarded up doors, and shot-out windows. Deteriorating buildings dot the landscape around Roswell.

“They’re a blight on the communities that they’re in and of course it’s an avenue for illicit drug activity and things like that,” said Roswell’s Director of Special Services, Mike Mathews. 

Rundown and abandoned buildings around Roswell have become an eyesore and a danger.

In recent years, more than 100 decaying structures have been taken down in the city thanks to residents participating in the “Clean and Safe” program.

“We actually had 113 private citizens participate in the program over the last four years and we, the city, have taken down 91. So that totals 204 through December of last year,” Mathews said. 

After purchasing a $5 permit, the program offers local residents free disposal of the materials from torn down structures.

The “Clean and Safe” program can save a property owner thousands of dollars, but more importantly, it makes the community safer and more appealing.

“Having a nice house next to a dilapidated house is just not very nice,” said Rick Borbis of Roswell.

He’s experienced the issue first hand. What’s now an empty lot near his home was once a major eyesore.

“It was horrible, there were people coming and going. I know there were drugs,” Borbis said. “There were people, and there were dogs, and it was just a mess. It just was not a good environment for the kids.”

The squatters almost forced him to move out of the neighborhood.

“I really hope that anyone else in the city who has a house like that is able to take it down because it’s just not good for the city,” he said. 

The city says most of the dilapidated structures they see are owned by people who live out of state, which makes the removal process more difficult.

The program started April 2, and will run through October 31. Property owners must contact the city’s code enforcement division for the free disposal deal at 575-637-6280, or by visiting their office at 421 N. Richardson Ave.

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