ATLANTA -- In the city's eyes, the boarded up houses actually represent progress in Peoplestown, the first of 29 houses the city of Atlanta wants to purchase and bulldoze.
Two years ago, flooding in this community south of Turner Field exposed a city storm sewer system that was unable to handle sustained heavy rain. Now the city has bought some of the neighborhood's most water-vulnerable property - with an eye on a large-scale solution.
"We've been very aggressive in settling claims and purchasing real estate in the area, so that folks that are really badly impacted have a way out," said Mayor Kasim Reed Tuesday. "And I'm going to stay on that problem until it's fixed."
Part of the city's plan for Peoplestown includes a high-profile water-detention system, patterned after the city's groundbreaking reservoir in Atlanta's Old Fourth Ward Park - which quickly became a popular in-town destination.
One neighborhood activist says the plan may be overkill. "My home hasn't flooded and a number of my neighbors' homes haven't flooded," said Tanya Washington, whose house barely escaped the 2012 flooding. "And so I don't think we should use a jackhammer for a situation (for which) a scalpel may be more appropriate."
Reed says the "big solution" to the problem in Peoplestown would be to build what he calls "a very attractive park" that includes the detention pond.
Following the flooding in Peoplestown in 2012, some residents sued the city. That ongoing litigation, city officials say, is one of the reasons they're unable to put a definitive timetable on when this flood-prone neighborhood will be fixed.