The battle over what to do with long-standing, storm-damaged house is over.
"There's a lot of relief because it was about a two year process," says Red Bank City Manager Randall Smith.
He refers to a house on Goodson Avenue that was heavily damaged in the storms of April, 2011. The city condemned it shortly thereafter. Smith says the owner walked away from the home which eventually went into foreclosure.
The mortgage company--the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)--didn't want to give up the property so fast. The city offered to demolish the home at the tax payers' expense, getting the money back after the VA sells it. The VA didn't like that option.
"It wasn't until we got in touch with Congressman Fleischmann's office that we were able to really get moving on the situation and to reach a resolution," explains Smith.
That was earlier this year. By September, after all the red tape and paperwork, the VA turned the property over to the city. The eyesore that darkened the street for so long could now be gone. Back then, neighbors were ready for any action.
"One of them kids goes in there and something falls on them," says worried neighbor Timothy Richmond. "All kinds of critters in it."
"We have not seen anybody there to attempt to trim trees, cut trees, any part of it down," exclaims Josh Reardon.
This finally changed in October when the city had the house demolished, costing the tax payers a little more than eleven thousand dollars.
"We were able to move forward and get that cleaned up and clean up that street a little bit and help get the neighbors some relief that they desperately needed," says Smith.
Not only the lot but thick brush overgrowth and some trees have been cleared, too, that now give way to a view of Signal Mountain.
But the saga's not quite over. There's still the matter of what to do with the land. Smith says it will go up for public auction.
"I don't know if we'll be able to actually see a sizeable profit," admits Smith. "But I think we will be able to recoup the lost tax payer dollars, yes."
Smith adds that the auction could happen as early as the spring of 2014 but the board of commissioners will decide an exact date.