Abandoned buildings litter Georgetown

The City of Georgetown is one of the oldest in our area. While it has dozens of historic sites, it also has dozens of sites some say are not so appealing.

They are all over town - along main roads, next door to businesses, homes, and there are two across from city hall. They're abandoned buildings.

Some are newly abandoned while others have been there for decades.

"There are pieces of property like this all over town," said City Councilman Paige Sawyer, pointing to what was once an apartment building, but is now a hollow shell. Abandoned buildings like that one litter Georgetown.

"The problem," said Sawyer, "is irresponsible property owners. They don't keep up their property. You can see it has become an eyesore and a health hazard, not only is it a health hazard to humans but also to critters that like to find homes and make their homes in buildings like this."

Sawyer added that many of the property owners have moved away and, more or less, have forgotten about their property, leaving behind the empty shell - a reminder of what once was.

What it is today is bad for business, bad for property values, and bad for the city as it would much rather display it's historic nature and small town southern charm to visitors.

"(The abandoned buildings) do nothing for the people who come into Georgetown, who travel through Georgetown to see this as they travel through Georgetown. We'd much rather show them the scenic property and the waterway and the historic homes and the historic property that we have here in town," said Sawyer.

The city 's Building and Planning Department says it's an on-going effort to track down property owners and make sure they're in compliance with building codes. Compliance officers work to track down property owners to make sure they adhere to city codes and maintain their property.

Officials at the department say they're willing to work with property owners who have trouble getting into compliance, but there is a limit to how much the office is willing to accommodate owners in violation. Eventually, property owners can end up in court, facing hefty fines.

Sawyer admits the town is making effort the to hold property owners accountable, but he insists Georgetown has to be more aggressive or the historic view of this nearly 300-year-old city will be blocked by a new history, one made up of dozens and dozens of empty shells.

"It's very disheartening," said Sawyer, "that we have to put up with property like this. In my opinion, we shouldn't have to."