CROSS LANES – As of Monday, there is one less blighted, dangerous building in Kanawha County.
It took about 20 minutes for a large excavator to demolish an abandoned, crumbling house at 110 Harper Road. Overgrown with weeds and suffering from serious structural damage, the building was in terrible condition.
This was the first of an estimated 100 dilapidated structures that county officials plan to raze utilizing funds from the West Virginia Property Rescue Initiative - a program developed by the West Virginia Housing Development Fund that helps counties and municipalities that want to rid their communities of blighted, dangerous properties.
Last week the Kanawha County Commission closed on a $500,000 WVPRI loan from the Fund that it will match with $500,000 in building permit fees to fund demolitions.
“When residents see these buildings coming down, the entire neighborhood cheers,” said Commission President Kent Carper. “This is truly a matter of public safety.”
Carper added that he expects this will be the largest demolition project in the history of the county. He said the buildings they are targeting are bringing down property values for surrounding homes, are obvious fire hazards, and in some cases, have become a haven for drug abuse and drug trafficking.
Erica Boggess, the Fund’s Executive Director, said she is excited about the county’s use of WVPRI and hopes this partnership serves as a jumping off point for other entities to utilize the program.
“We hope other municipal and county agencies take advantage of this initiative,” Boggess said. “This is a powerful tool and one that makes communities safer and more attractive.”
To be eligible for WVPRI, cities and counties must have the authority to acquire and/or demolish the property and the structures to be razed must constitute a health and safety hazard.
For more information about WVPRI, please give us a call at 1-800-933-9843.