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Dilapidated Jackson Addition Area Homes Pose Threat to Neighbors
Written by Whitney Wetzel
Last updated on November 19, 2012 @ 7:20PM
Created on November 19, 2012 @ 5:51PM
 
While Morgantown is working to expand it's housing, Fairmont is also looking to do the same. But one area in the city that's upgrading its surroundings, still has more than a few eye sores laying around. That has some folks who live there saying they can't even sit on their own front porch and enjoy the view.
 
Over the years, some homes in the Jackson Addition area of Fairmont definitely stopped getting the TLC they probably once had. But other homes there look practically brand new. However, that leaves the neighborhood looking unbalanced.
 
Imagine if each day you walk outside to go to work, or pick up the newspaper, you look over at your neighbor's house and this is what you see: windows boarded up, stairs caved in, garbage strung in the yard, and weeds left to grow out of control. That's what some homeowners in the Jackson Addition area of Fairmont are left to look at everyday. 
 
"And it's full of groundhogs. At night, they come out, get in your garbage, they're on your porch and everywhere," said Viola Horton, who's lived in the Jackson Addition area since 1931.
 
Neighbors said these home aren't just an eyesore, they're also a hazard. Horton said, "The old houses and the new houses, that don't look good. They need to do something about these old houses that need to be torn down."
 
But that's where the problem lies. Fairmont City officials said in most cases, their hands are tied. 
 
"We're now starting to get into properties where we have a lot of challenges. They're owned by people that live out of state, so you have the due process issue with providing them notice, giving them time to respond, and things of that nature. Or it becomes a fiscal issue. That issue then becomes 'are we as a city going to take on the burden of tearing down these properties that may be another individual's responsibility'," said Jay Rogers, Fairmont City Manager.
 
City officials are working on two programs to ease residents' concerns:
  1. They're implementing a Home Rule Pilot Program, where residents in that neighborhood can register vacant properties and dilapidated structures. That will allow city officials to have a record of those and then be able to address those issues as they work through problems.
  2. Officials said they're also going to start what they're calling a Neighborhood Enhancement Program around the beginning of the year. That will encourage residents to try to stop their homes from falling apart before it's too late.

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