By Courtney Hessler, The Herald-Dispatch
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A pilot project to address the abundance of dilapidated and abandoned structures in West Virginia has found success and identified $70 million worth of buildings waiting for demolition.
In 2021, the West Virginia Legislature created the Reclamation of Abandoned and Dilapidated Properties Program, which is overseen by the state Department of Environmental Protection. The following year, the program was funded with $10 million in American Rescue Plan Act money.
The move came after West Virginia University’s Legal Education to Address Abandoned and Neglected Properties found as many as 1 in 16 properties in the state are vacant or abandoned and would cost $550 million to address. Residential property alone would cost as much as $300 million to tear down.
During Sunday’s meeting of the Legislature’s Joint Commission on Economic Development at the Capitol, Ed Maguire, an environmental advocate for the DEP, said before the funding came last year, the DEP worked to research the problem. The department found a lot of work being done on local levels was being limited by the lack of financial resources…