Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013
West Frankfort Prepares to Demolish Problem Properties
WEST FRANKFORT -- West Frankfort city leaders are working to address a growing problem with dilapidated housing.
Officials have a list of more than half a dozen homes waiting to be demolished, including a home on the 700 block of St. Louis Street. News 3 first told you about the property back in April after city leaders received hundreds of complaints about the tenants stripping it bare and piling up trash.
That home and another property are on Tuesday's city council agenda. Once approved by council members, they'll be added to a list of homes ready to be torn down.
A concerned citizen, who did not want to be on camera, has been mowing the grass of one of the vacant homes for the past two years because nobody else will.
"Help the community. You have to take pride in where you're at," he said.
The man says he and another neighbor actually considered buying the home and remodeling it, but realized it wasn't worth the effort.
"They stripped all the pipes, electricity, furnace, air conditioner, anything they could strip out, they took it," he said.
City codes enforcer Ed Hammonds says it's just one of eight properties the city now owns waiting to be destroyed. He says they're not only difficult to look at, they're a health and safety hazard.
"Someone's going to fall, get hurt, broken glass, rotted floors, basements are full of water, any number of things could happen," said Hammonds.
The neglected houses put a burden on the city and those who live around them. Demolishing the homes will cost the city roughly $3,00 to $4,000 each, but Hammonds says it's worth it.
"It's not easy living there (around the dilapidated homes)," he said. "The property values deteriorate until the houses are demolished. Hopefully once they're gone, someone will purchase the property and hopefully build a new home there."
Hammonds adds that behind these homes is a list of 20 other properties waiting to be cleared. City leaders are hoping to put the first eight houses up for bid at the end of October so they can have them demolished by the end of this year.
Here's the list of properties scheduled for demolition:
213 E. Clark Street
409 N. Parkhill Street
210 N. Jackson Street
701 W. St. Louis Street
705 E. Elm Street
409 N. Horn Street
404 N. Taft Street
607 W. 7th Street
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