City of Athens looks to restore blighted downtown
ATHENS, Ala. (AP) — City leaders in Athens are looking for ways to attack blight downtown and are leaning on owners of the buildings to show they're making progress. The Decatur Daily reports that the city has been trying to eliminate dilapidated structures by forcing owners to fix them or removing the problem and billing the owners. Laurie McGuire bought five empty stores downtown about five years ago, during the economic downturn. She used a grant to fund storefront improvements but hasn't had the funds to continue the work until she recently got a loan. Rebekah Davis with the Limestone County Archives said the vacant shops were built between 1911 and 1920 and are part of the Athens Courthouse Commercial Historic District, which joined the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.