ANDERSON, S.C. (WSPA)- Dozens of people attended a meeting Tuesday to discuss safety issues at Homeland Park Primary School.
Sheriff Chad McBride, drug investigators, Anderson County Council members, school officials, and parents attended the meeting.
Shawn Blakely’s daughter just graduated from Homeland Park and her grandson is a risking kindergartner there.
“It’s just a concern, the safety of our kids,” Blakely said.
She and other parents said they are worried about abandoned buildings and drug use surrounding the campus.
Walter Lanier is a graduate of Homeland Park Primary and a parent of a student there. He’s been working to clean up the area as the president of the Homeland Park Community Watch.
“We’re looking at securing the grounds a little more and trying to rid of some of the properties in the area and work from there and see what avenues we can take to better the community,” Lanier said.
According to county council members, there are more than 100 abandoned properties nearby. Neighbors said those homes lead to bigger problems.
“We have drugs, drugs, drugs in our community that we would love to get cleaned up,” Blakely said.
Issues have spilled onto campus over the Summer. A man was spotted sitting on the roof one night. Another man went onto school property to plug in his phone last week and was charged with stealing electricity.
It costs about $10,000 to demolish one condemned building, according to local officials.
Council members said they are applying for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of grants to tear down blighted structures.
“It makes me feel good and know that something is about to be done,” Blakely said.
For parents like her, having this kind of attention on their neighborhood school gives them hope that things are going to change.
“I’m praying for better, and I can see it happening,” Blakely said.
The district superintendent said he would look into putting tall barbed wire fences around the playgrounds.
According to the principal, custodians and the school resource officer scan the grounds daily for anything suspicious.