Sheffield challenges property owners to tear down or renovate

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SHEFFIELD, Ala. – There’s pride showing up in downtown Sheffield once again. Sidewalks are filled with customers visiting recently opened businesses. It’s become a thriving economic hub.

One block off Montgomery Avenue, the owners of a closed manufacturing facility have decided to tear down their once-thriving operation. They are making room for even more growth.

“Their usefulness is kind of gone, and they were secure. They were boarded up, but I don’t think they were conducive to retrofitting for another business,” stated Sheffield Mayor Ian Sanford.

But with all the growth, there are still some sore spots for the city. Their latest challenge moving into the courts – three buildings deemed unacceptable for occupancy. They have collapsed roofs, trees growing from the inside, out; even bricks falling from the facade.

“They were kind of deemed a public nuisance for either health or safety,” Sanford explained. “In some instances, it was both.”

Sanford said the city’s job right now is to protect the new businesses and growth trend. He recognizes their historic value in some cases, but an eyesore next to a valuable business is unacceptable.

“We really would like to see no building torn down, but sometimes that is the only option,” said Sanford. “We will see what happens, but we are serious about it and we will continue to be serious about it.”

Because the last thing Mayor Sanford wants is for all the work being done in downtown to flop.

The Sheffield City Council voted to take three property owners to court to have their buildings either torn down or renovated. All three cases are ongoing in Colbert County Circuit Court.