By Greg Jordan, Bluefield Daily Telegraph
PRINCETON, W.Va. — More than a million dollars in grant money has been spent on tearing down dilapidated structures across Mercer County, and there’s still about half a million dollars left to go.
In 2022, Mercer County was awarded a $1.5 million state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) grant for demolishing dilapidated structures. Residents wanting to eliminate homes, trailers and other structures they cannot afford to take down can file applications to get the money they need in order to do it.
“A little over a million has been bid out,” Dilapidated Structures Officer Lori Mills said Monday.
A large group of structures is being readied for demolition.
“Batch 3 is a very large batch of demos,” Mills said. “There are about 43 structures and seven of those are in downtown Matoaka: three large buildings, one medium sized and three smaller buildings. Right now the need seems to be greatest there to get the structures down because of safety.”
Dozens of burned-out or decaying structures have been demolished and hauled away already.
“After we finish this batch we’ll be at 93 structures,” Mills stated.
Demolition applications are still available. In some cases, property owners living outside of Mercer County didn’t know about the demolition grant program, but they applied for one after learning that they can get the money needed to pay for demolishing a structure and having the debris hauled away, she recalled. …