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Homeowners concerned abandoned structures are lowering properties values

A long-time resident of Charleston's west side spoke out about concerns for neighborhood safety due to the number of abandoned and vandalized homes and buildings. (WCHS/WVAH)

A long-time resident of Charleston's West Side spoke out about concerns for neighborhood safety due to the number of abandoned and vandalized homes and buildings.

An abandoned church that has been empty for several years was vandalized this week. Anthony Jarrell who lives on the same block said he wants to know why removing or restoring the run-down buildings and homes isn't a priority for the city.

"Our neighborhood is decaying around people who have made investments in property," Jarrell said.

It's affecting homeowners throughout Charleston's West Side.

"She keeps her place mowed if she didn't mow her grass she'd get a letter from the city of Charleston, telling her to mow her grass, but that church can stand there for six years. Find the owner, make them take it down or tear it down at the city's expense," Jarrell said.

Just like the church, there is a long list of houses, abandoned, with weeds and overgrowth everywhere you look.

"This just makes for unsafe neighborhood conditions," Jarrell said.

Jarrell said not every building should just be torn down; he thinks some should be restored.

"Once they're past a certain point, and there are more asbestos and lead paint, and the floors and foundations have gone, then those need to be taken down, but there's probably 40 that could be grabbed up and fixed up, and it will maintain the property value for the neighbors who do want to maintain their property value," Jarrell said.

Jarrell is not giving up hope that some of the currently abandoned homes will be brought back to life so more families would move to the West Side.

"People are looking for homes. People want a better existence. They want a fair value for their money," Jarrell said.

Mayor Danny Jones said within the past 20 years, more than 850 run-down homes have been torn down in Charleston, adding one more to the list today on Randolph Street.

While there are plans to attack the problem, he said right now the funding just isn't there.

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