ANDERSON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) – Anderson County has recently spent roughly $100,000 tearing down seven blighted homes, and there are more on the chopping block.
It’s a part of an ongoing effort to eliminate dilapidated properties that pose a public safety and health hazard.
County leaders said there are abandoned homes all over the county, but work is being done to take them all down.
“We’re taking down seven homes right now. We’re also preparing a list of another 10 homes that we’ll be putting out shortly,” said Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns.
Burns said they’ve tackled blighted homes for years.
“About four years ago, a special grant fund was established, one time only, and we were able to take down 69 homes in that four year period. It’s called NIP project,” said Burns.
The county said blighted homes are always a priority for the county, as they’ve identified nearly every house in Anderson County that needs to be torn down.
“They depress property values in neighborhoods. They provide places for less desirable neighbors to live. They also place for drugs to be sold. Also a place for insects to congregate, because people leave water and things like that,” Burns said.
As the county is focused on taking down the hundreds of abandoned homes, but Burns said sometimes getting there is the problem.
“Sometimes when we condemn a house, it can take a year before we have permission to do it,” Burns said.
“In the meantime, we have tried to contact the property owner, and get them to do it because it’s their responsibility,” he added.
The county administrator said sometimes there are absentee landlords or multiple people owning a home.
“Well eventually we will take that house down, but we will also attach a lien to that property. So when that property is sold, the county will get its money back,” Burns said.
Otis Clinkscales said he has witnessed blighted homes on his street, and he wants more people to take care of their properties or have the county tear them down.
“It brings the property value down on the people that’s trying to keep their house up, if they don’t do nothing about it,” Clinkscales said.
One house on Booker Street was recently torn down. The county said they’re looking to take down another home just yards away from Clinkscales’ property.
“Good news. Anything they can do to make the neighborhood look better,” Clinkscales said.
Right now, Anderson County is applying for a Community Development Block Grant to knock down 20 to 30 homes in the Homeland Park community. They are waiting to see if they receive the grant.
While Burns said they will continue to push this effort, the county wants people to pay attention to their properties.
“We would encourage you, to please if you have a home that has been condemn, would you please take care of it, so the county taxpayers wouldn’t have to take care of it,” Burns said.
“If they still own those homes, I wish they would come back and clean the yard up at least,” Clinkscales added.
The county said if you see properties that look to be condemned, make sure you report those to officials. They also said if you own a home and it’s now vacant, you should not only take care of it, but secure it by boarding it up.