Kanawha County Commission to spend $1 million to demolish dilapidated homes

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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Many neighborhoods in the area have that one house on the street that is abandoned or in disrepair. The Kanawha County Commission is putting $1 million toward removing run-down properties.

If community members have recently reported a dilapidated property in their neighborhood it may soon be on the list for the county to bring down.

“I didn’t report it to anybody because I didn’t want him to have any more troubles in his life,” said David Fitzwater. He has been living next to a dilapidated house for a while now. His elderly neighbor who lived there was ill so Fitzwater never reported the septic tank problems or the collapsing fence.

“But now that he is gone I would like to see this house removed and that septic tank removed,” Fitzwater said.

The county plans to spend the money to tackle numerous condemned or uninhabitable buildings. Half of the money is coming from coal severance money and the other half from the West Virginia Housing Development Fund.

“You drive down the streets here in Kanawha County whether it is incorporated or unincorporated and you are going to see dilapidated buildings scattered throughout this county,” said Lance Wheeler, Kanawha County Commissioner. “What we need to do is we have to take action. We have to get these buildings torn down, not just for an economic development but for safety for the neighbors of these dilapidated buildings.”

Wheeler said they find out about many problem properties through tips from the public.

“Every building costs a different amount of money so we are sure exactly how many buildings it is going to be,” Wheeler said. “We know that with this new announcement we are going to have a lot of people come out and tell us about these new homes that we haven’t seen yet.”

The home by Fitzwater’s property is on the county’s radar already. He is looking forward to seeing it torn down.

“Hopefully since they have this money this could be one of the first pieces of property that they clean up,” Fitzwater said.

There’s no specific timeline for how long it will take to bring the houses down. If there is a problem property in your community you can report it to the Kanawha County Commission.

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