Leaders worry about blight epidemic in Calhoun Co.
Updated: Wednesday, April 10 2013, 07:56 PM EDT
BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - Calhoun County leaders hope an emergency demolition in Battle Creek will be a wake up call for everyone about a blight epidemic in the area.
A foreclosed house on the city's southeast side was demolished Tuesday.
The fear was that the home was going to fall onto the house next door.
"Making noises like thunder, we looked into the window and saw the wall. The whole house you could see the basement from up here," said Margaret Rice, neighbor.
Neighbors say the house was abandoned nearly two years ago after a tree fell on the home during a strong storm. What started as a small hole grew over time to a point that experts identified a danger.
"They could see it was canting, and they were looking at an upstairs window that had a crack and started to be larger so you know the house was shifting before their eyes," said Christine Schaver, Calhoun County Treasurer.
The home was demolished, but not every property can be leveled this quickly. The county treasurer understands the urgency.
"The terrible appearance and pose crime in those neighborhoods," said Schaver.
There are hundreds of candidates by the numbers, it's an uphill battle to keep up. This is the first year foreclosures haven't increased. It takes time and money.
"The lowest cost was $7,000 and go up there depending on asbestos," said Schaver.
That doesn't mean the county isn't working to combat it. Rice says she's happy with what's happening in her neighborhood.
The treasurer hopes to apply for more grant money to be able to do more and possibly build new homes, community gardens or sell of the vacant properties to neighbors.