ASHLAND, KY (WOWK) — The fight against blight in one city in the Bluegrass State is continuing.

Thursday, city commissioners voted to approve the demolition of 13 structures in the city, including the former “Ashland Oil” building.

According to the city manager, 14 properties to date have been torn down by the city, 20 are in the process of being contracted out or demolished, and by July they hope to have around 50 properties brought down.

“It’s a challenge that’s throughout the region, there’s a lot of absentee owners on homes, there’s some owners that just aren’t taking care of their properties, but the vast majority of what we’ve experienced here in Ashland are absentee owners,” says Michael Graese, city manager for Ashland, Kentucky.

Lee Craft lives near one of the condemned properties the city has its sights set on. He says the house near him is causing him nothing but trouble.

“Yeah, I’m glad they’re gonna tear it down! Because I’ll be honest with ya, these condemned houses, they’re awful man! Because all they do is they draw in the homeless, the drug addicts, squatters–I’ve had several people arrested out of that house,” Craft says.

He says it’s been a cause for concern for his neighborhood for a while.

“I’ve ran prostitutes off from there, methheads, crackheads, heroin addicts, found needles out there in the yard, I mean it’s awful, it’s terrible… Yeah, glad to see it go. I hope they go through the whole town and do it; all of them,” Craft says.

However, this is bittersweet for some with personal connections to the demolitions.

“It’s sad because I know Hubert worked on the backyard back there and he built a deck and he really took pride in it, you know, when they were living here,” says Roy McDowell, who knew one of the condemned property’s owners.

According to McDowell, though, it fell into disrepair after his friend passed.

Whether neighbors look at these potential demolitions with sadness or relief, all those who spoke with 13 News say they think it will benefit the community in the end.

“It’ll help the property value of the houses, you know, here in the neighborhood I’m sure,” McDowell says.

“I think if they really are abandoned and the owner’s not keeping them up, then it probably is worthwhile…It’s a baby step, but it’s a step maybe in the right direction,” says John Wright, who lives near one of the condemned properties.

Graese says the city put aside $2.9 million dollars in their budget for removing blight.

The commission unanimously approved the demolition of all 13 of the structures on the agenda Thursday.

They will go to a second reading Friday, and if approved, contractors will be scheduled and the buildings will start to come down.