The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

December 11, 2012

Summers to clear dilapidated structures

By Sarah Plummer
Register-Herald Reporter

— Summers County is moving forward on plans to clear dilapidated structures along their main thoroughfares.

Sara Elswick, AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer based in Hinton, said the county’s Dilapidated Buildings Committee has already secured a grant from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to go toward tearing down unsightly structures along W.Va.  3.

In addition, the Summers County Commission has given the committee the OK to apply for up to $50,000 from the West Virginia Housing Development Demolition Program to take out additional structures.

Commission president Jerry Berry said the county plans to focus their efforts on the worst and most visible structures on W.Va. 20 and W.Va. 3 and Rt. 12.

Elswick said the motivation for moving forward with these demolitions is because it is one of the public’s most frequently voiced concerns at the county’s comprehensive plan meetings. They also aim to reduce the number of eyesores before traffic increases with the Boy Scouts’ 2013 National Jamboree.

She added that many of these structures belong to individuals who have moved out of the county as far away as Florida.

Other structures have been passed down from generation to generation without any repair or attention, she said.

Berry added that the county sees these demolitions as a resource for the community, not a penalty for landowners.

“We feel like we are offering people the resources to take down these structures. These are people who may have wanted to do something with their properties, but have been prevented from doing so because of these old buildings,” he said.

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