ETTRICK, Va. (WTVR) – At the corner of Chesterfield Avenue and Lee Street in Ettrick, you’ll see broken windows, crumbling buildings and a yard overrun with tall grass and weeds.
It’s an unsightly property just yards away from Virginia State University, but soon tax dollars could help clear the way to change the dilapidated property.
Some neighbors think the properties need to go because they believe the vacant houses are an eyesore and an invitation for crime.
“It’s a safety matter. It’s blocking traffic. When the students drive through here like they own the roads they can’t see around this property with all of the bushes and debris,” said Mel Branch.
Chesterfield’s Deputy County Administrator Bill Dupler says inspectors tried for a while to get owners to fix the property. The property was later donated to the VSU Foundation. That group dedicates it’s money to scholarships for deserving students.
Dupler says when the property was donated to the VSU Foundation, because of limited funds, it wasn’t in the position to utilize money to demolish the homes on the lot and clear the land. That’s why the VSU Foundation turned to the county for help. It’s now requesting sixteen thousand dollars from Chesterfield to get this done.
CBS 6 has learned that it’s money that could be pulled from Chesterfield’s Blight Eradication Capital Project. County leaders are now considering transferring money from this account to the general fund to cover the donation to the VSU Foundation.
“We have an account for the removal of derelict and decrepit buildings in the county. It comes from the general fund and it’s authorized by the Board of Supervisors to take care of problems like this,” adds Dupler.
Branch questions why county leaders are considering using tax dollars to assist in this project. County leaders say it’s for the good of the community.
“Obviously the county has a lot of interest in seeing Ettrick revitalized and the effects of the revitalization will impact all citizens, so this will be a good thing for the community,” said Dupler.
He says the county has a great partnership with VSU to remove the blight from this property that will be used as part of the expansion project at the university.
“Because this property was donated to the foundation, they really have very limited funds to address them. It is a fairly unusual circumstance and in my twenty years with the county I don’t believe we’ve done this before. But hey, what’s wrong with doing something that helps the community?” explained Dupler.
At its meeting on Wednesday, the Chesterfield Board of Supervisors will decide whether or not to donate to the VSU Foundation to clear the property.