Town of Yemassee receives grant to tear down blighted buildings

Town of Yemassee receives grant to tear down blighted buildings

YEMASSEE, S.C. (WTOC) - Thanks to a grant from the state of South Carolina, Yemassee has taken a step forward in their efforts to further beautify the town.

The Community Development Block Grant issued by the South Carolina Department of Commerce is giving the Town of Yemassee $157,500 for the Yemassee Clearance Project.

Those funds along with $17,500 from the town’s general fund will go toward tearing down 15 abandoned homes across all four zones.

“It’s going to increase the property values for the other residents in the neighborhood," said Matt Garnes, the Town Clerk. "We hope it’s going to instill more pride of place, you know, the town’s taken an aggressive stance on trying to proactively take down some of these houses and it will just make everything look better.”

The owners of each property have agreed to the demolition. Next, all the buildings will be tested for asbestos and applications will be filed for demolition permits. If asbestos is found, air monitoring will be needed. There will be a bid for the contractor hired.

The town believes this will not only create a more attractive place to live, but a safer one.

“With any abandoned building, you can always have the risk of squatters or kids going in there to play and getting hurt and like the house here behind me, this has been sitting here for about two years now," Garnes added.

About a year and a half ago residents came to the town council asking for something to be done. The grant was applied for in September, and the council is happy to have the wheels in motion for this project.

“We’re so happy to be able to do for the citizens Yemassee, something that they can see and feel and know that we’re doing for them," said Mayor Colin Moore.

Once the buildings are leveled, it is up to the property owners to keep the area up to the town’s property maintenance requirements. They’re expecting this project to be complete in two years.

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