“Every time one goes down, we hear about one or two more that need to go,” said Angela Gerald, project director for the committee. “It really does look 100 percent better.”
The committee has been using one of the West Virginia Housing Development Fund’s signature programs, the West Virginia Property Rescue Initiative, to fund this work. To date, Gerald said her committee has razed 10 structures. Thanks to a bill passed during the 2015 Session of the West Virginia Legislature and signed into law by Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, the program is evolving.
The West Virginia Property Rescue Initiative, formerly known as the Demolition Program, mandates that the Fund allocate an additional $1 million per fiscal year over the next five years for a revolving loan program available to counties and municipalities that want to rid their communities of blighted, dangerous properties.
Key points about the program include:
- The maximum loan amount for any one entity is $250,000 per fiscal year.
- Loans may be made for periods of up to seven years.
- Payments will be due over the life of the loan.
- Payments may be deferred over the first two years of the loan.
- No interest accrues during the first two years of the loan.
The program provides cities and counties with resources to acquire and/or remove dilapidated properties from their communities. To be eligible, cities and counties must have the authority to acquire and/or demolish the property, and the structures to be razed must constitute a health and safety hazard. Assistance is provided in the form of a loan repayable over a maximum term of seven years.