Decayed Buildings Should Be Focus

Neglected buildings are problems in virtually every community in the Ohio Valley. Action on them is seen most often in larger cities with more resources than smaller towns.

West Liberty officials hope to change that. They plan to work with the Belomar Regional Council and West Virginia University’s Brownfield, Abandoned, Dilapidated Buildings Program.

A public meeting to discuss the plan is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday at West Liberty Town Hall. Mayor Mark Griffith told us the university’s BAD Program can offer technical assistance to West Liberty. Much of the unpleasant work of the initiative will have to be done by local residents, however. It is they who will work as a team to identify structures and vacant lots that have been neglected too long.

A key to doing that will be to focus attention on buildings that are health and safety hazards. If the town is seen as embarking on an “appearance police” campaign — acting against owners of structures that may just need a coat of paint, for example — public support may lag.

Concentrating on genuine problem structures and lots is appropriate, however. If the town can do something about them, residents will support it.

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