UPDATE 01/23/13 @ 6:16 p.m.
PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (WSAZ) -- If you're looking for a place to build a new business or home in Portsmouth, the city may have some suggestions.
Starting Wednesday, a demolition project has been underway to tear down blighted homes along the "Gateway Corridor" of U.S. 23 and U.S. 52.
"This is a home, that we joke, is only held together by termites holding hands," Tony Thacker said.
Thacker is with Solid Rock Construction, which won the bid to do the demolition work on roughly 24 properties.
"We've done the final inspection, and this one's ready to come down," he said.
Chris Smith is the city's health commissioner. He sees this as a positive step.
"These vacant, dilapidated homes just bring down property values for people trying to sell their homes," Smith said. "They end up renting, and there are problems, and it ends up being a cancer in the neighborhood."
Norman Peck has several properties in town; he lives directly across the street on Gallia Street where the first home came down Wednesday afternoon.
"This a good thing," Peck said. "It'll mean more money coming in. It'll get rid of these old houses. It'll make a better future for Portsmouth."
There are roughly 100 more properties on the city's health commissioners "wish list." Smith is hoping to meet with city council to figure out a way with capital improvement money to find the cash to tear those down, as well.
"We did the final walk through," says Tony Thacker with Solid Rock Construction. "We've scoped out the power lines to nearby homes, so it's ready to come down."
Solid Rock Construction's been awarded the contract to tear down the homes as part of the city's Gateway Project. The goal is to rid the major arteries through the city of the eyesores of run-down, empty houses.
"We're figuring about two days for each house," says Jason Dunham with Solid Rock Construction. "But each job is different."
The focus of the project zeros in on properties along both U.S. 23 and U.S. 52.
WSAZ.com's Bill Murray will have more on the city's goal for the properties, once the houses come down, coming up on Newschannel Three's 5:30 Edition.
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