The city of Orange has approved the demolition of more than 30 buildings in the city. Depending on Each building must go through an environmental review process. City Planning Director, Jimmie Lewis says there are procedures the city must follow.
"In our procedure we have to notify the property owners and we give them the option to repair or demolish," said Lewis.
If the owner does not repair or demolish it in the 30 days allotted, the city will begin court proceedings for demolition.
"I'd say 8 to 10 times it's going be our funding that takes care of the project," said Lewis.
The cost of the tear down either comes from the general fund or from community development block grants.
"Many of the houses have been abandoned, so the property has been abandoned," said Lewis.
Six buildings have gone through the court process and the city is currently taking bids on the demolition. First on the list is the property on Putnam that used to be a pain clinic. In the past few months the property caught on fire two times. So city planners say it's not only and eyesore for the city, it's also causing a dangerous situation. The city will begin the court process on another five properties this month.
Royale Jenkins is an Orange resident and has seen the damage caused by hurricane and neglect.
"A lot of people are scared to live next door to these vacant and abandoned houses," said Jenkins.
Inga Peacock is a property manager in the city and sees the value of getting rid of the old buildings.
"It's an eyesore to have these old houses and it brings in new people to the community. They come, get jobs and have better places to live," said Peacock.
The city believes erasing the eyesores will make Orange a better place to call home. They hope to demolish close to 50 buildings by the time they host the Bass Masters Elite Series Fishing Tournament this March.
Lewis says, 98% of the costs of these demolitions will be paid for, out of the Community Development Block Grants. The city will try to recoup the costs of the demolitions by placing liens on the properties. Since Hurricane Rita, the city officials say they have demolished close to 400 buildings.