Old Eyesores Continue To Hinder Community Growth
Every place has them, yet they don’t seem to be a fight most want to take on. After all, costs associated with maintaining old dilapidated and abandoned structures can reach astronomical figures. However, if it hinders and discourages growth in communities the issue need to be discussed and resolved.
The problem doesn’t just lie with downtown areas but is a widespread problem, including many residential neighborhoods. At a recent local community meeting, discussion was held concerning the lack of business, especially Professionals in one of the nearby towns. The concern was lack of legal services (no Law offices), lack of a Physician, Dentist, Eye Doctor,Insurance Agengy, no pharmacy, no restaurant, and no grocery store, and the list went on. The majority opinion was the area is in dire need of a facelift. Not only in areas that are visable, but as whole.
A recent poll showed that small town America continues to grow and prosper, but only when there is opportunites for recreation, good schools, nice clean well maintained homes and plenty of small business. Another major attraction is a clean environment and quality drinking water. Well maintained streets and roads were also high on the list. Although these may be expensive they are without a doubt attainable. And will pay dividends in the longer term.
The City of Sistersville has decided they have had enough, and are seriously looking at ways to improve their image. One of the major problems they have is dilapidated and abandoned structures. The community leadership has partnered with WVU BAD (Brownfields, Abandoned, and Dilapidated) Buildings to address the legal issues of this problem in their community.
The WVU BAD Buildings program was presented to the City Council on June 10, 2019 and they held their initial meeting the first week in July. We feel they have taken the proper step to move the town in the right direction for years to come. Team members are currently taking an inventory of the BAD Buildings in Sistersville to begin the redevelopment process.
It is time for surrounding communities with the same issues to move in the same direction. Failure to do so will result in reduced property values, while discouraging economic growth. Failure to address BAD Buildings imposes severe social and economic costs on neighborhoods. BAD Buildings negatively impact communities through increased costs due to fire risks and crime as well as the costs of reduced tax revenue from depressed property values.
BAD Buildings also act as a drain on local infrastructure, such as roads, sidewalks, and utility maintenance, and increases costs by requiring public services such as police and fire protection.
In addition, these properties demoralize communities; pose environmental, health, and safety hazards; and provide an attractive nuisance for illegal activities, including drug use.
BAD Buildings slow local economic development by reducing available commercial and industrial properties as well as making a community much less attractive to entrepreneurs and developers.