Brannon Hill makeover

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Phase 1 of cleaning project complete at notorious complex

After the removal of nearly 1,200 tons of debris, Brannon Hill Condominium in Clarkston is beginning to have a different look.

Phase 1 of a cleanup project at Brannon Hill was completed after two days of work from July 13 to July 14. In total, 1,999 tons of debris were removed from demolished buildings.

“I cannot overstate my appreciation for the hardworking men and women who executed a logistically challenging plan to cleanup this devastation and increase the quality of life for DeKalb residents,” said DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond. “Blight contributes to diminished public health and safety, and though we still have far to go, this is a positive first step.”According to the county, 37 county employees worked a combined 460 hours. Trucks removed more than 150 loads of debris to the county’s landfill.

On Nov. 18, 2016, DeKalb County obtained a court order allowing nuisance abatement in Brannon Hill at four buildings totaling 68 units.

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The complex, built in 1973, caught on fire in November of 2016 and most recently in May the Red Cross said 40 individuals were displaced due to the fire.

Commissioner Steve Bradshaw, whose district covers Brannon Hill, said the cleanup is about helping the families who are still living in the condominium.

“I’d like to thank CEO Michael Thurmond for being a man of his word. When we were both campaigning last year we made a commitment to not forget about Brannon Hill,” Bradshaw said. “We all know there have been challenges here that predate our tenure in office and we know Brannon Hill has been spotlighted in the media. But the truth of the matter is, real people live here.”

Roughly 100 units at the complex are vacant and in disrepair while nearly 186 units are currently inhabited, according to county officials.

Phase II of the cleanup project will occur sometime before the end of 2017. DeKalb County officials said the county will award a contract to demolish and remove debris from two buildings representing 40 units.

The $400,000 in federal community development grant funds will be used on the cleanup project.

“DeKalb will be judged by the quality of life of all of our residents, including those most challenged,” Thurmond said. “The county has the ability to remove these four blighted buildings in Brannon Hill, but removing buildings isn’t the cure.”  

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