SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Spartanburg County leaders are working to tear down abandoned and blighted properties.

“It’s a massive win for every person that not only lives in Spartanburg but that wants to move to Spartanburg,” said county councilman David Britt.

Last week, crews started to tear down a former hotel on International Drive. County leaders said this demolition project has been a long time coming.

“When you’re dealing with larger commercial properties like that, it takes such a long time to get to a point where you’re actually doing a demolition,” said Jamie Nelson, the county’s environmental enforcement director.

Britt said this former hotel property has been an eyesore for years.

“It’s become a home for drug sales, drug addicts, as well as prostitution, all the bad things you don’t want in the community and drags that whole community down,” said Britt.

Nelson said there’s a lengthy and thorough process they have to follow in order to tear down these types of properties.

“We want to make sure that we do our due diligence and we do make sure the owner gets due process in before we get to the process where we’re actually tearing something down,” said Nelson.

Still, county leaders said removing blight is a priority.

“I think it sends a message to the community as well as the county that we care about where people live, work, and play,” said Britt.

Britt said they hope to reduce blight and bring in more affordable housing as a part of the county’s five-year strategic plan. He said spots like the property along International Drive have potential.

“That’s a great commercial property, or a great apartment property. You’ll see something nice go in there,” said Britt.

Nelson also said if a property owner does not bring a building into compliance and it’s torn down, the county will place a lien on the property to re-coup the cost of the demolition.

Britt also said county leaders budget about $350,000 that can be used to demolish blight.