Construction Plan Moves Forward; Tenants Forced to Move Out

By: Jennifer Rizzi Email
By: Jennifer Rizzi Email

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Herschell Smith and his wife Melissa just welcomed their baby son a few weeks ago, but soon they won't have a place to call home.

"I had no idea I would be told to get out," Smith said.

They live near the corner of Second Ave. and C Street in one of several houses soon to be demolished.

Property developers are clearing the land to make room for businesses and new apartments. People living there will be expected to leave in three weeks.

"Basically we're all stuck ... we only have one paycheck," tenant Billie Stone said. "Some families have none right now."

SMP Properties bought the land in August. Spokesperson Patty Miller says they haven't been charging the tenants rent since then so they could save up money to move.

Miller says the homes are in such bad shape that they're about to be condemned. Tests for asbestos came back positive.

Tenants like Stone say they'd like to move but just don't have the means.

"We need to find a new home, and we need to find somebody willing to work with us to get into a home," she said.

Developers say the deadline to move out is Nov. 8.

They're not sure how long after that construction will start, or what new businesses will move in once it's finished.

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