By David Meade
Anderson County Council District 7 representative Cindy Wilson told Williamston Town Council Monday that the county has $2.5 million available to help demolish structures in areas suffering from blight. “It is another tool in the arsenal for public improvement,” she said.
Mike Foreman of Anderson County Planning and Community Development told council that twenty properties in the Williamston area have been identified for possible acquisition and demolition under the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP).
Foreman explained the program to council stating that Williamston was one of eleven targeted areas in the county that could participate in the program. According to Foreman, the NIP, with the consent of property owners, pays a negotiated price for dilapidated properties, demolishing them and provides upkeep for three years.
The program allows up to $35,000 per property, but participation is on a first come, first serve basis, county wide, Foreman said. Foreman said each of the twenty property owners will be contacted by the county to determine if any of them are interested in having their property bought and cleaned up as part of the program.
The NIP is designed with a goal of stabilizing property values through the removal of blighted properties in targeted areas and to prevent foreclosures for existing property owners in an effort to redevelop and revitalize areas suffering from blight and decline.
Anderson County received $2,496,284 in funding through the program to demolish and green substandard and blighted residential properties, throughout the county. Properties are only acquired on a voluntary consent of the property owner, Foreman said.
Once potential property is identified it is determined if it is eligible.
First the property owner must be interested in selling the property. The property must be vacant. It can be single family or multi-family units. Mobile homes are eligible. The NIP staff will determine if a property is eligible.
When the property owner enters into a contract with NIP, SC Housing approves the purchase of the property and testing inspections are done to determine if there is hazardous materials.
The property is acquired and the loan is closed within 90 days.
Once that takes place, demolition and site greening takes place.
Final inspection and maintenance of the property including mowing and trash removal.
Properties identified as possible targets to be included in the NIP in Williamston include: 101 Cross St., 5 E. Third St, 9 E. Thirds St., 46 Jehue St., 25 Jehue; 101 Mauldin, 14 Mineral Park Lane, 204 N. Hamilton, 206 N. Hamilton, 209 Prince, 15 School, 16 School, 11 Shaw Dr., 15 W. Carolina, 20 W. Carolina, 11 W. First, 2 W. Second, 114 W. Second, 114 W. Third and 7 Washington St.
Anyone who may know of another property in Williamston that could be a candidate for the NIP can contact Foreman at 260-1757.