BLUEFIELD, W.Va. — Demolishing burned out, abandoned and dilapidated buildings found throughout West Virginia is the goal of a bill the Legislature passed last April, and lawmakers are now seeing if stimulus programs such as the American Rescue Plan could be used for that purpose.
Senator Chandler Swope, R-Mercer, recently took the opportunity July 13 during a town hall meeting about redistricting to speak about legislation addressing the state’s abandoned structures problem and how demolitions could be funded. In April, the Legislature passed legislation that Swope sponsored, Senate Bill 368, and Gov. Jim Justice signed it into law.
The bill authorizes the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to develop the Reclamation of Abandoned and Dilapidated Properties Program.
Economic conditions that created the problem of abandoned and dilapidated structures also leave cities and counties with no money to address the demolition work, Swope said. For example, McDowell County alone has between 5,000 to 8,000 abandoned homes that should be demolished…