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County starts tearing down condemned Meridian property

By Staff
DESTROYED Lauderdale County workers destroy a condemned house in Meridian at 211 46th Ave. on Monday. The house was one of 24 condemned structures in the city that the county hopes to raze by March 13. The work is part of an agreement between the city of Meridian and Lauderdale County. Photo by Kyle Carter/The Meridian Star
By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
March 2, 2004
Lauderdale County workers demolished two abandoned houses in Meridian on Monday fulfilling county officials' pledge to help the city destroy condemned, unoccupied property.
The city has more than 50 condemned structures that officials consider health and safety hazards because they could attract children and drug dealers and could be infested with rats and snakes.
Officials also have called the targeted structures eyesores.
Neal Carson, Lauderdale County engineer, said the demolition work went smoothly. "We're going to try to get to about three a day," he said.
Meridian Community Development Director Don Farrar said the county started with a list of 24 homes ready to be demolished. He said another 32 structures are condemned, but must have asbestos removed before they can be demolished.
More homes are expected to be added to the list of condemned property.
Farrar said building inspectors go to great lengths within the legal process to meet with property owners to repair whatever deficiencies have been found. He said all other avenues are exhausted before a building is condemned.
The city and county finalized an agreement in January for the county to help destroy condemned property.
When a home or building is condemned, the cost of tearing it down becomes a lien against the property. The agreement calls for any collection of payment on the lien to be distributed between the city and county.