DUNBAR, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- They're properties that can lay waste to a neighborhood; with weeds overtaking walls, and the only thing to see through the broken glass are boarded windows.
For David McFadden, it was the nightmare next door.
"Sometimes I'd have to cut the grass over there to make it look neat, so the critters wouldn't come in over there to here," said McFadden.
On the other side of town, Thomas Ferrill was living across from another ransacked residence.
"Basement garage bays were still open and full of trash," remembered Ferrill.
It was so bad, he and his neighbors feared the abandoned abode would become a haven for crime.
However, those eyesore are now empty lots.
They represent a fresh start, all thanks to Dunbar Mayor Terry Greenlee, who made it his mission upon election to clean up the city.
"Most of the answers were, get rid of the old, dilapidated houses; the houses that were falling down," said Mayor Greenlee.
Mayor Greenlee and the city's building inspector meet with four property owners a month, giving the owners the option: fix it up or wipe it out.
"We're on their side," said Mayor Greenlee. "We don't bring them in to say, 'hey, we're going to tear your house down.' What we want to do is work with them."
So far, five homes have been demolished, though far more in ruin have been repaired.
"People who want to live here drive around and see destitute and boarded up houses, they don't want to move here," said Ferrill.
It's a project that's not only improving current neighborhoods, but providing the promise of prosperity for years to come."