Florence Cracks Down on Blight Properties

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – Several dilapidated homes are now being demolished after a 2-year struggle with the state historic commission.

Florence city leaders said the properties were standing in the way of progress.

With every scoop of the bucket, the remains of a home on Pine Street disappeared Tuesday morning.

It is one of 7 homes scattered throughout the city of Florence scheduled to be taken down over the coming weeks.

“Any time you remove blight from a neighborhood, you instantly restore not just value, but also a sense of pride that we all want in places that we live,” explained Melissa Bailey, Planning Director for the city of Florence.

Nuisance properties the city identified, and abandoned for one reason or another.

Bailey said they worked with the property owners to clean them up, at no cost to the owner.

The city hopes someone can now step in with a clean slate and redevelop the properties.

“Either build a new house on it, or invest in it commercially, and that puts it back on the tax role,” stated Bailey. “That’s money in the coffer, and you get that property viable again.”

According to Bailey, the city of Florence has taken down more than 70 blighted properties in the last 5 years.

And they are now working on identifying next year’s properties.

The $50,000 contract price for the demolition work being completed is being paid for through a federal block grant for urban development.

Ownership is retained without any kind of lien on the land by the property owners.

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