NITRO, WV (WOWK) – A long-awaited project to clean up the city of Nitro and make way for new growth began Tuesday, Nov. 15, with demolition of the first of many dilapidated buildings.

“These buildings have been in place for many years but they’re dysfunctional, and it’s time to tear them down,” said Dave Casebolt, Nitro Mayor.

The project aims to revitalize Nitro’s downtown and commercial area by tearing down several vacant residential and commercial sites. Phase one includes 18 structures, one of which was torn down Tuesday, Nov. 15.

“What you’re seeing now is the beginning of a tear down of two whole city properties to create 400 feet of commercial property right along Route 25,” Casebolt said in reference to the property on 25th Street.

Faye Bowles, a Nitro resident, has lived on 24th Street for over 29 years. She said it’s something she’s been looking forward to.

“They’re kind of like an eyesore, and you don’t know if somebody’s squatting in them at night or what because we see so many people walking up and down the street that don’t live here that you’ve never seen before,” she said. “So, sometimes we wonder are they staying at night down there.”

Casebolt said the project will not only help bring more opportunities to the area, but it will also make it safer.

“There’s no doubt it’s gonna make it safer. We have a lot of break-ins here, and I’m amazed these haven’t caught on fire yet,” he said. “You constantly have people breaking into them so it’s going to make it a whole lot better for the entire neighborhood.”

In total, nearly 30 structures are expected to come down by the end of 2023.

Casebolt said they already have a few businesses interested in buying these properties but no official plans have been made for what will take their place.