Lake City Blight Removal Project Progresses | Community News
LAKE CITY, South Carolina — A clean slate. That’s what a Lake City property owner can expect as overgrown and dilapidated structures are cleared from their Lincoln Avenue lot.
Not just an eyesore, the uninhabitable structures had become a problem for the community and were implicated in the April 2022 police investigation and seizure of over 20 pounds of marijuana, handguns and more.
The City of Lake City worked with the owner to resolve the issues and had already removed an abandoned vehicle involved in the investigation. On September 14, the demolition of the wooden and concrete block structures began. The demolition should take about three days.
“Tearing down this uninhabitable structure will help eliminate the blight and improve the area for the residents of this community,” said City Administrator William A. Hall.
Area resident Lorine Chandler said she felt “fantastic” to see work begin on the structure’s removal. Chandler, who grew up on Lincoln Avenue, remembers “playing on the streets, feeling safe” and hopes cleaning up rundown properties will help revive the community and make it grow.
“It’s a good start,” she said.
And that’s just the beginning.
While the City of Lake City covered the costs of demolishing Lincoln Avenue, a state Community Development Block Grant will fund the potential removal of 38 other dilapidated properties in the city. But only with the permission of the owners.
“The city cannot simply tear down a structure because it is dangerous, an eyesore or a problem, in short, a blight on the community. We need to take many legal steps to identify the right owners, locate them and work with them to resolve the issues with their properties,” Hall said.
“This grant allows these properties to be cleared at no cost to the owner. This is a fantastic opportunity for these homeowners to help remove the blight from our neighborhoods and give themselves a clean slate to do something new with their property.
Two owners have already accepted the offer, and the city has begun the process of having the properties tested for asbestos before demolition. Once demolished, the properties will be graded and seeded, ready for whatever the owner wishes to do.
In addition to improving neighborhood aesthetics, cleaning these properties also reduces health and safety risks, removes breeding grounds for wildlife such as rats and snakes, and decreases opportunities for criminal activity. .
“Our hope is that these landowners take advantage of this unique opportunity to improve their land and our community at no cost to them,” Hall said. “Once a property is cleared, the owner can use their property as they see fit. They can maintain it like open land, they can sell it, they can even build a new house. The property remains theirs; the dangerous structures simply disappeared.
Potential benefits for the owner include:
• A clear, leveled and grassed ground ready for anything
• Increase in property value
• Increased sales opportunities
• Reduction of property taxes (if existing structures incur taxes)
Under the grant, funds are allocated only to the 38 properties identified in a specific area of the city to have the greatest impact for the community. This is a small segment of a larger list that includes properties from all areas of Lake City.
“If all 38 properties were cleaned up, it would dramatically improve our community and significantly increase the quality of life for neighborhood residents, in addition to providing homeowners with a clean slate,” Hall said.
Potential community benefits include:
• Increase in property values
• Improved neighborhood aesthetics
• Less burning
• Reduced opportunities for criminal activity
• Reduced fire and safety risks
“Unfortunately, if a property owner decides not to take advantage of this opportunity, we cannot use the funds for another property,” said Haidee Stith, a grant writer and consultant who works with the city. “Once the grant ends, unused funds set aside for the 38 properties are returned to the state. The city may apply for another grant in the future, however, if the city does not show significant progress with this one, we are less likely to receive another one.
Lake City is a community of over 6,000 people that invites you to live – work – play – and visit the southern part of Florence County.