RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - One week after 12 On Your Side's story about neglected city property, repairs are getting done.
A resident called 12 about the wall in Byrd Park Court last Tuesday, fearful the wobbly wall would fall and hurt someone. The city said it didn't have the money to repair it, but after seeing the loose brick and mortar on TV, the city reconsidered.
After so much push back from the City of Richmond over repair costs, the broken and ugly structure finally got some attention.
"I woke up yesterday morning and I'm like, 'Who's out here? Who's working on the wall?' I came out and there were a couple trucks and about six guys," said homeowner Gordon Bass.
The City of Richmond shored up the wobbly, cracked and crumbling wall on both sides almost immediately after we met Bass at the wall in Byrd Park Court.
Bass believes the structure is more stable and definitely a prettier entrance for the 17, 1920-style homes, that make up Byrd Park Court.
"They had to replace these bricks. They patched the wall there. They straightened everything up. They had to put bricks all the way around," said Bass.
Last summer, the wall was damaged by a hit and run driver, and Richmond refused to fix it. Before the crash, residents say they painted and took care of the wall. That's why they were puzzled by Council Vice President Ellen Robertson's crackdown on individuals with derelict property - when they say the city wasn't taking care of its own.
"That lit a fire under me," said Bass. "Two years worth of beating my head against the city's wall and it took them an hour to do this."
Last Tuesday, a Public Works spokesperson said an engineer found no safety issues with the damaged wall and was adamant the city would not be making repairs because it didn't have the money. But Monday morning, a city crew reset the missing bricks. The same spokesperson says no additional repairs are scheduled.
"I can't thank 12 On Your Side enough. Diane called me within a couple days and you showed up. Your competitors were hot on your heels," said Bass. "You put it out there in the public's eye."
Painting the stucko is all that's left, and Bass says residents will do it if the city doesn't. They plan to apply for grant money to help with longterm maintenance.
The city wants to give the wall to residents, if they form an association. Many don't like the idea and say the city should take care of its own property.