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It's got to go: City works to demolish condemned housing

Drew Butler
The City of Ardmore demolished a condemned home on B Street NE earlier this week. They hope to tear down three or four more before the end of the year.

Now that the fall and winter season is upon us, the code enforcement department for the City of Ardmore is turning its attention to the demolition of condemned houses. Earlier this week, the city demolished a dilapidated house on B Street NE, and Community Development Director Jessica Scott said she hopes to tear down three or four more before the end of the year.

“We’ve held two demolition hearings so far, and right now we have a list of 13 houses that have been approved for demolition,” she said. “We’ll be having another hearing on December 17 so a few more will probably be added to that list.”

Scott said these hearings are a way to meet with property owners to determine the best course of action to take for the condemned homes.

“I know that phrase -  demolition hearing -sounds scary, but we’re really just trying to reach out to help people,” she said. “A lot of the time people are apprehensive about reaching out to us, so the hearings are good way of making connections and building relationships with the owners.”

She said about 15% of owners decide they would like to make repairs to their property, and the city gives them a year to make the necessary changes.

“We realize that this can be a big, expensive project, so we give them a year to fix things up, and we’ll help them any way we can,” Scott said. “If the year passes and nothing has been done, that’s when it might be time to do something to make the neighborhood better.”

Scott said she plans to hold monthly demolition hearings next year to help make the entire process easier for both property owners and the city.

“We just want to work with people, find out about their progress and see how we can help them,” Scott said. “If they need us to demolish it, we can work that out. If they are wanting to sell it, we can help them get in touch with people who specialize in that type of sale. It's really all about helping people and doing what's best for the city."