ST. ALBANS, WV – The City of Saint Albans will be moving forward with the next phase of demolition projects with the help of grant money from the WV DEP Ready. Set. Demo. statewide initiative. Among 21 other municipalities, counties, and communities, St. Albans was awarded grant money for similar initiatives across West Virginia.
A kick-off event is planned for November 28th at 9:30 AM to celebrate this important milestone. City Mayor Scott James and St. Albans Building Official Marshall Chaney will be joined by many county and state leaders at its next location, 853 Poplar Drive in St. Albans, where the demolition of the first of 16 more structures will occur after a brief press conference, kicking off the next phase of the project.
“It’s so important to our neighborhoods in St. Albans. It increases property values and improves safety while beautifying our City,” Mayor Scott James commented on the positive impact the grant could have on St. Albans.
The demolition of these properties will reduce blight in the City and help make St. Albans more attractive to potential businesses looking to set up shop in the area. This partnership between local municipalities and state officials will bring more economic development to the area.
“With this new grant money, we are poised to make significant strides in cleaning up our community and improving its appearance for all residents and visitors alike!” says Building & Zoning official Marshall Chaney. “This is an important milestone in addressing the issue head-on, in an accelerated manner.”
The Road Towards Progress
In August, St. Albans City officials were notified of their approval for grant funding to help address the issue of dilapidated and dangerous properties in St. Albans. The City secured $540,000 that will be used to demolish a growing total of buildings throughout the City. After applying for the grant and meeting all the criteria, the City was awarded this grant from the West Virginia DEP Office.
Demolition Agreement Assists With Demolition Costs
In July of this year, St. Albans Building & Zoning Department announced a new demolition agreement where the City will pay for the demolition of dilapidated buildings and homes if the owner agrees to pay for the associated dump fees to remove the debris. The initial response has been positive, with many owners signing agreements to clean up their properties.
The City is hopeful that this combination of grant money and private agreements will help address the blight issue in St. Albans and the surrounding area.
Partnering With Neighboring Communities
“We’re grateful for the community’s support in helping to make St. Albans a safer and more attractive place to live, work, and visit,” says St. Albans Building & Zoning Official Marshall Chaney.
The City has been partnering with neighboring communities and local officials in Nitro, Kanawha County, and state officials to work towards a common goal of improving the overall quality of life in St. Albans and surrounding communities.
To ensure more communities take advantage of this grant, Walter Hall, the Delegate-Elect for District 58 in West Virginia, plans to work with other local and state officials to promote the grant that helps communities tear down vacant structures. He believes that this will bolster economic development and make area neighborhoods safer. “Drugs and low-level crime are often associated with these areas,” Hall says. “Tear them down, clean up the property, and bring businesses and jobs to District 58, making our communities a better place to live, work and do business.”
More About The Demolition Process
Identifying a building for demolition to scheduling and tearing down the building with the contractor is a multi-step process. Once a building is identified as a candidate for demolition, many steps are involved. The project must be cleared with the State’s Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and ensure proper asbestos abatement with the WV DEP’s ten-day air quality notice before the demolition begins.
The work is scheduled with the demolition contractor, and all necessary permits must be obtained from the City of St. Albans Building Department before the demolition can begin. With the many area demolition initiatives now underway, any new demolition work must be scheduled around these existing sites already on the waiting list.
Providing Training & Education Opportunities
By acquiring dilapidated structures, the City can provide real-world training scenarios for both St. Albans Fire & Police Departments. This opportunity allows departments to utilize actual buildings awaiting demolition as a training ground for emergency procedures and safety protocols. This training opportunity comes at a cost-saving benefit to the City instead of the expense of utilizing a training facility.
“These buildings provide an excellent opportunity for our officers and first responders to practice their skills and stay up-to-date on vital emergency procedures,” said St. Albans Police Chief Gilbert.
More About The DEP Grant
The DEP grant targets areas with high concentrations of dilapidated and dangerous structures, which St. Albans certainly qualified for. Through the Ready. Set. Demo grant program, the City, was able to secure funding that will be used to demolish a total of more than 20 buildings throughout the City over the next year or two. This funding, along with the new Demolition agreement between the city and property owners, will help to make significant strides in cleaning up our community and improving its appearance for all residents and visitors alike.