WSAZ Investigates | More Eyesores Next Door
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Another 119 vacant homes are set to be torn down in the city of Huntington over the next eight months, according to an announcement made Monday morning.
Mayor Steve Williams says the city has secured funding to tear down the remaining homes on the ‘Unsafe Building List’ by June 30, 2021. However, the list may not be zeroed out at that point, since homes are constantly being inspected and evaluated to see if they meet the criteria.
Several factors like contractor schedules and weather may play a role in the timeline.
Initially, the list included more than 400 houses in 2017. The first home to be torn down in the next phase of construction is a building in the 900 block of 27th Street. There are 21 more properties in the neighborhood on the list.
Fire Marshal Mat Winters tells WSAZ, since the city torn down more than 100 properties in 2019, the number of vacant house fires has dropped by 40 percent, which is reducing the risk to neighboring structures and first responders.
Charles King has lived on 27th Street for more than 40 years and says he was excited to see the home come down.
“I loved it, because it’s going to improve the neighborhood a whole lot,” said King.
In the last year and a half, firefighters have fought at least three fires in the neighborhood. Each structure posing a risk to first responders.
Mike Shockley, city council member, says it’s been a priority of his since he took office.
“I know it’s hard when you’re looking at it every single day,” said Shockley. “You get to the point of, ‘when are they going to tear this down?’ Well, today is they day that they start moving forward. It takes finances, it takes planning, and it takes time.”
Check back for more updates to this story later in the evening.
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