ST. ALBANS, WV (WOWK) – A statewide initiative to help address issues of dilapidated and dangerous properties reached a new milestone Monday with the demolition of St. Albans’ first of 18 structures.

St. Albans Mayor Scott James said the city has already torn down 15 structures. However, the building on Poplar Drive marked the next phase of demolition projects.

This phase will be funded through the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s “Reclamation of Abandoned and Dilapidated Properties” statewide initiative. The goal of the program is to help communities clean up and remove dilapidated structures.

“We’ve got $540,000 through this grant and what State Auditor McCuskey and the DEP and the legislature has done here not only makes St. Albans better, it makes the state of West Virginia better,” James said. “This is one of the best moves I think they’ve made in a long time.”

James said the project will make the town safer, bring property values up and make the community more inviting. The city is hoping to have the majority of the structures torn down in the next couple of months.

According to the WV DEP, St. Albans is one of 21 communities that received funding through the statewide initiative.