Lake City cracks down on abandoned properties to make safer neighborhoods

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LAKE CITY, SC (WBTW) – Lake City officials now have the power to condemn an abandoned property if the owner refuses to maintain it. News13 got an up-close look at properties the city will soon tear down.

Lake City Administrator Shawn Bell said residents want safer neighborhoods.

“When you have homes that are taken care of in the community, it leads to a sense of pride in the community,”Bell said. “So what we’re doing is we’re trying to clean up our community.”

Abandoned homes can create problems like bug infestations and higher crime rates.

Lake City City Council has revised an ordinance to add due process to the demolition of abandoned buildings.

After being notified, the owner has to either decide to clean up the property or have it demolished by city volunteers.

Building Official Craig Hurst said the ordinance gives him the authority to condemn a building unfit for living.

Hurst said they, have not had to condemn any properties yet. Within the last year, the City tore down 14 properties, all with the permission of the owners.

The biggest reward is creating a safer environment, especially for children.

Hurst said, “We have to try to make sure that the neighborhood is safe because kids will go into just about anything when left unsupervised.”

Lake City officials say the cost of demolition is up to $1,000. Most of the homeowners have paid to have the 14 demolished homes torn down.

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