MARION, Va. (WJHL) – For several years, residents of Marion have complained about burned-out houses and abandoned properties filled with overgrowth and rodents.
The Town of Marion has started what it deemed a solution by removing long-standing eyesores across town through the blighted, abandoned, underdeveloped and dilapidated properties program – or the BAUD program.
Marion is addressing the concerns by working with owners of these properties to remove them and to make way for new home development in neighborhoods throughout the town, in an effort to bring more opportunities for business, recreation, and overall better quality of life for the people in the Marion community.
“What we’re working to do is with property owners to be able to either fix up the ones we can or the ones that we can’t, to be able to tear those down and to put in new housing and help people to own their own homes,” said Ken Heath, director of the Office of Community and Economic Development in Marion.
The Marion Economic Development Authority, in partnership with the Town of Marion, has so far acquired 48 properties across town through donations, tax sales, and targeted purchases based upon conditions of the structures.
Thirteen dilapidated structures have already been removed, with 18 set to come down over the next two months.
“We’ve also started looking systematically at areas of buying houses when the EDA could afford to do so,” Heath said. “Nobody’s being displaced. We’re not putting anybody out of their home. Our goal is to put people into homes, not take people out of their homes. And what we’ve done is had a pretty good success on that.”
This spring, those 18 eyesores will be torn down to create empty lots to be filled with homes in the near future.