‘A clean slate’: Newport couple talks about decision to buy nuisance drug house and demolish it

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NEWPORT, Tenn. (WATE) – A clean slate. That’s what a Newport couple says they and their neighbors are relishing in at the fresh start of an empty lot after they purchased and demolished a nuisance house last month.

Tammy and Eric Bryant recently bought a nuisance drug house with the goal of knocking it down. It comes after years of calls and arrests at the property, according to the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office.

WATE 6 On Your Side reporter Elizabeth Kuebel spoke to the property owners. They told us they’re now at peace, because the house right across the street from theirs on Epley Road was becoming an ongoing issue.

“It looked like a drug house, and it was an active one,” Tammy said. “Lots of people coming and going in vehicles, walking. It was something very constant.”

The couple said it was an unsafe and unsanitary situation, so they decided to do something about it.

“All the houses pretty much around here had been broken into, and we almost felt like we were kind of next. But the opportunity came for us to be able to purchase the property, and we jumped on that,” said Tammy.

Just days later, they brought in heavy equipment and tore down the building. It was important for them, they say, to remove all evidence it was even there.

“Just a clean slate, and just the peace that we’re all experiencing right now. I can’t tell you when I pull out of my driveway the peace that I feel,” she said.

It’s something they wanted not just for themselves, but for everyone else living nearby. The Bryants say this is their way of showing others they want to take back their neigborhood by combatting drug activity in their area.

“It was wonderful to be able to bring it back to what it used to be, because it was totally out of control,” Tammy said.

The Bryants say right now they’re just going to allow themselves and their neighbors to drive by their new property and enjoy it as it is.

The Cocke County Sheriff’s Office says it’s willing to work with property owners to clean up their communities. Just give them a call at 423-623-6004 and ask for Sheriff Armando Fontes or Chief Deputy Derrick Woods.

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