Coming down: Ardmore demolishes over 80 condemned houses so far this year

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
This condemned house along with its garage apartment in Northwest Ardmore are scheduled for demolition later this week. The city has demolished 34 condemned houses since the beginning of their fiscal year in July.

On any given day there are approximately 300 condemned houses within the City of Ardmore. While some of these homes will be renovated by the owners or new investors, others will ultimately be torn down. When the property owner is not able to pay for the demolition, the city steps in to make sure the job gets done. Over 80 condemned properties have been demolished in such a manner so far this year.

Community Development Director Jessica Scott said the city has demolished 34 houses since the new fiscal year began in July. The goal is to demolish at least one per week, but many weeks see more than one house coming down.

"We have one a week scheduled, but if there is an emergency and the house presents an immediate danger, we immediately add it to our list," Scott said. "With some of the demolitions, there are actually two houses on the lot, so we bid those out together and that adds another two to our list."

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She estimates that even with all the demolitions, the number of condemned houses remains at around 300 because new homes are being added on a regular basis. The new additions are often added after a neighbor complains or an official notices the problem during their course of duties. This includes police officers who see a problem when responding to a property for another issue and DHS after removing a child from the home.

Even after a home is added to the condemned property list, it may take a few years for it to be torn down unless it poses an immediate safety hazard. Eventually the property owner will be called into a demolition hearing. During the hearing, city officials work with the owner to come up with a plan of action. 

Scott said about 50% of the properties that go to hearings end up getting a building permit to make repairs. The others are torn down by either the city or the owner. When the city tears down a house, a lien is placed on the property taxes.

She said the issue is widespread and not isolated to one part of town.

"Every section of town has some," Scott said. "Some parts have a few more, but I think that's just because those houses are older and have been there longer."

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To report a home that could potentially pose a safety issue or that is in violation of any city ordinances contact Code Enforcement at 580-223-3477.