NITRO, WV (WOWK) – The City of Nitro is planning to demolish 22 vacant buildings along Route 25 this Fall with high hopes that something better will take their place.

“It’s been a long-standing vision and something that the mayor and myself and our land reuse board and the city council have been working towards,” said Kim Reed, the Nitro City planner. “It feels really good to be so close to the beginning of the demolition project.”

Nitro residents like Jane Sizemore said it’s something that needs to be done.

“If you go around town, you’ll see a lot of places boarded up,” she said. “I was surprised to see how many houses are boarded up.”

These vacancies as well as safety concerns were just two of the reasons Reed said they initially decided to take on this project. From there, she said, it grew into a bigger project to redevelop the community.

“We’re going to have a lot of property that’s going to be marketed and be very enticing to people who want to build and invest in larger downtown type retail,” she said.

According to Reed, Nitro has already invested about one million dollars into redeveloping the community over the last two to three years. She said this project will specifically be funded by the West Virginia Department of Environment Protection’s REAP program. Through the program, the DEP awarded Nitro $350,000 to complete the project over the next 18 months.

“All of the money that is spent for this project is a city realizing that we have to put our money where our mouth is,” she said. “People are not just gonna come in, we have to provide space for them to do that.”

Even though many residents said they support the project, there is still a hint of nostalgia in the air.

“I like to see progression. I don’t mean that I don’t like it, but it’s like they’re tearing down your childhood,” Sizemore said.

Reed said Nitro is ready to begin the project, but they’re waiting on the approval from the DEP to move forward. She said the project is expected to be underway in the next six weeks.