Article & photo by:
Greenwood is knocking down the first set of “blight” buildings, with a long-term goal of revitalizing areas of the city that have fallen into disrepair.
Greenwood City Council first discussed its new blight remediation strategy in the spring. It included identifying more than 100 dilapidated structures in the city limits that meet the policy standards for required demolition.
“If someone were to move in here, would it be habitable, is it safe?” said Assistant City Manager Draper Carlile.
After identifying these properties, Carlile said code enforcement officials get in touch with the property owners to inform them they need to get the building into compliance with building code. Some owners agree to resolve the issues themselves, but others come to an agreement to let the city demolish the building and charge them for the cost.
The city hires asbestos remediation specialists to ensure the structure is environmentally sound before bidding out groups of houses to demolition companies.
“There’s a lot of moving parts and it takes time,” Carlile said.
The first group of demolitions started in late October, with 11 structures initially on the list. Two owners demolished their structures on their own, one agreed to pull renovation permits and another property was moved to group two as the owner had outstanding probate court proceedings.
The demolition contractor takes down the approved buildings one at a time, in whatever order is most efficient for them. The second group of buildings includes about 15 structures.
City Manager Julie Wilkie said at a Greenwood S.C. Chamber of Commerce event Tuesday that the long-term plan for these demolished lots is to seek in-fill development. Empty lots could provide space for housing developers to build new homes that fit the character of existing neighborhoods, which will increase Greenwood’s housing stock and replace formerly dilapidated structures that were affecting nearby property values.