The Fayette County Beautification Committee has been awarded a $200,000 grant from REAP (a division of the Department of Environmental Protection) for demolishing dilapidated houses. Today they started with 1352 Scarbro Road.
“It’s gonna help the area tremendously — one for safety, getting those unwanted people lodging in the houses that have been abandoned and been eyesores,” said beautification chair Dan Helton. “It’s gonna boost the esthetics from seeing some of those houses that have been wanting to come down for a long time but just having had the resources to do so, and finally, getting the property value boosted up.”
There are many moving parts to get a house taken down, from the board, who deems what houses fit the criteria for dilapidated dwellings — whether they’re structurally unsound, not connected to utilities, overgrown vegetation, windows busted out — things that make it unsafe or unfit to be repurposed. They vote on those and then it goes to the county commission.
“In turn, they reach out to the land owners or property owners, get them together and kind of see where they’re at… as far as what they want to do with the property,” the beautification chair said. “It goes on to the prosecutors and they vote. There’s several different layers we have to go through in order to get these things taken down.”
As chair of the beautification committee, Helton says he votes on some of the houses that are up for discussion and uses his best judgment to determine what condition they’re in.
“If they can be repurposed then that’s great. Cause again we wanna build back so seeing things that kinda don’t fit that criteria; it’s just better off they get torn down because of structural safety,” he said. “We don’t want kids playing in them, the roofs to collapse on them. We don’t want people lodging in them — any activities that go on.”
On the county site…
https://fayettecounty.wv.gov/departments/beautification-committee/pages/default.Aspx you can report a dilapidated structure. According to Dan, and if you can safely upload a picture without trespassing, that would be helpful.
“The main goal is to get a database… throughout the county of all the dilapidated houses there, and get a consensus of which ones need to come down and put those in a matter of urgency of which ones we prioritize,” said Helton.
*According to the beautification chair, the committee has identified 50 to 60 additional houses that need to come down. Now it’s just a matter of navigating all the channels to address them.