Demolition of buildings creates investment in Nitro

Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 3:38 PM EDT
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NITRO, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Abandoned vacant buildings continue to be torn down in Nitro. It has been part of an effort to make the city look nicer, eliminate safety hazards, and bring in business.

City planner Kim Reed spoke about the effort.

“Too many of our neighborhoods have been saddled with these properties for so long,” said Reed. “Investors were not wanting to put in their money because they don’t just have to splash some paint they’d have to do upgrades to electrical, plumbing in some cases the floors are rotting.”

Reed said there are several avenues for getting dilapidated properties torn down. One way is through the city’s project funded by the WVDEP and the Kanawha County Commission.

These homes also pose a safety hazard to firefighters. When dilapidated homes are susceptible to catching fire when squatters go inside. Those structures can cause major safety issues for responders when fires happen.

Signs mark one of those homes behind the commercial that was torn down Thursday.

“This is a vacant property that has actually sat here for almost 12 years,” said Reed. “It’s been listed on our vacant property registration but there has been no movement to rehabilitate it or to take it down by the property owner.”

However, the vacant home is not part of the project funded by the DEP and Kanawha County. Since the project started in November of 2022, over 15 properties have been torn down.

“Due to the building structure, it has to come down so they gave the property owner 14 days after the notification process for the asbestos,” said Reed.

The city of Nitro is also working to condemn unlivable homes.

“We are talking about integrity and dysfunctional properties that have major issues that make them unsafe,” said Reed.

More properties owned by the Nitro Land Reuse Agency are on the project’s list for teardown. Private owners of vacant homes that pose a risk to firefighters and the community will receive a notice to make upgrades.

“Every one of these property owners is going to get due process so they can rehabilitate

Reed said the project has even brought business back to Nitro.

“We are already starting to see some investment in those neighborhoods that have not been there in the past several years,” said Reed.

Phase one of the project to demolish homes is almost complete. Reed said phase two will begin in the summer of 2023.