COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) — A northern Kentucky city is demolishing abandoned homes in an effort to eliminate blight from its urban core.
The Kentucky Enquirer (http://bit.ly/19YrdJN) reports that about 300 houses in Covington will be demolished by the time the program is completed.
"The program's intent is to remove blight from the city," said Covington Assistant City Manager Larisa Sims. "These were the worst of the worst."
City engineer Mike Yeager said there's more than $400,000 earmarked for demolitions in the 2014 budget.
The project is part of a plan by city officials to help rid Covington of eyesores and unsafe abandoned homes over a five-year period.
Yeager said the homes being demolished include those owned by someone who died and weren't claimed by relatives. The city can't find owners for other homes that are in such bad shape they can't be rehabilitated.
"We've gotten a lot of positive feedback on the demolitions," Yeager said. "They've been vacant for so long, they became almost like a dumping ground. People would break in."
One home on East 12th Street that will be torn down had trash and broken plywood inside that was ankle deep.
Some of the houses were pointed out by neighborhood associations in Covington during neighborhood tours, said Bill Wells, who is president of the South Covington Community Action Association.
"We are absolutely thrilled," said Wells. "A lot of these are places where the drug dealers can hang out. You'll probably find more hypodermic needles in some of these than you will copper."
He said the vacant homes have been stripped of the metal, which can be taken to recycling centers for cash.
Covington has more than 800 abandoned properties, according to a count by city staff and the demolition program is among the ways officials are dealing with the problem. The city has also worked to rehab homes and put them up for sale.
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com