Hyde Park neighbors start to relocate - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Hyde Park neighbors start to relocate

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AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) -

After years of debate, and months to get the process rolling, the City of Augusta has started moving families out of Hyde Park. Families renting homes are the first to go.

"I didn't like it at first, but I like it now, because I want a better place anyway," said Emma Landers. She's been renting a Hyde Park home for 14 years.

About 50 families are being relocated from the flood-prone neighborhood. The city voted to turn the area into a regional retention pond. The city also says the neighborhood is contaminated and want to move everyone out within three to five years. But commissioners say that's too long if residents' health is at risk.

"When you got potential hazard and you know about it, you're aware of it, especially as a government, and we talk about how we love this city, and we support everybody, and we're doing what's right…we're not doing what's right," said Commissioner Marion Williams.

Ditches around the area are filled with garbage, but residents who've been living here for decades say they don't think the area is contaminated, and they don't want to move.

"This place is not contaminated," said Justine Whitehead, whose family owns four properties in Hyde Park. "They need to fix the sewage line and that's it."

Justine Whitehead has lived in Hyde Park all her life. Sixty years ago, her father built C.E. and Son Bar right across the street. Just last night, burglars broke into the bar stealing the liquor, cigarettes and an empty cash register. This has happened four times. But it's not enough to make Whitehead want to leave.

"My father has fought all his life to keep this business open, so now I'm here to take his place and fight for him," Whitehead said. "So we don't want to close this business up."

But other residents are more than happy to find a new home, even though they haven't been told exactly when or where they'll be moving to.

"I'll be glad when I'll be able to relocate," Landers said. "I hope it won't be too far and too much money."

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