Unsafe buildings to come down in Mercer County thanks to state wide initiative

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 10:10 AM EDT
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MERCER COUNTY, W.Va. (WVVA) - “Ready, set demo!” is the unofficial slogan of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s newly established Reclamation of Abandoned and Dilapidated Properties Program.

Governor Justice visited Mercer County last week to announce the $9.2 million dollars in funding for 21 communities across West Virginia.

“And now there’s so many dilapidated, abandoned type buildings. They’re cluttering up our landscape and they’re killing us.” said Justice.

Mercer County’s unincorporated areas received $1.5 million for demolition.

“The whole goal of having this 1.5 million in the county is to get Mercer County cleaned up. To get some of these unsafe structures down. By getting the county cleaned up we do nothing but increase everyone else’s property values.” said Lori Mills, Mercer County Dilapidated Structures Officer

Thanks to this funding the county is able to tear structures down at no cost to the property owner at this time.

“Anyone in the unincorporated areas can come to my office here at the War Memorial Building. I have applications available. It’s a very simple 3 page application,” said Mills.

There are also complaint forms that citizens can use to report blight and unsafe structures.

All buildings have to get approval from the state’s environment protection agency and historical board before they can be slated for demolition.

Forms can be found at Lori Mill’s office in the War Memorial Building. She can be reached for questions at 304 431 8538.

If you live in Athens, Bluefield, Bramwell, Oakvale or Princeton, you will have to go through your own local municipalities to discuss demolition. Bluefield and Princeton also received funding from the statewide grant. Separate municipalities may run their programs different to Mercer County.

Municipalities will have a year to spend the money.