City tearing down vacant homes, looking to do more
For more than 60 years, Tommy Dickey’s parents lived on Paducah’s South 4th Street. Now he doesn’t consider it much of a neighborhood at all.
“Used to, you had a neighborhood, and you knew everybody in it. You could walk down the street. You could leave your car unlocked. Not no more,” Dickey said.
Dickey said, overtime, people lost pride in their homes. This fiscal year the city of Paducah tore down 24 structures. Deputy Chief of Fire Prevention Greg Cherry oversees the demolition process. “You take one house in a block like this, it hurts the whole block. Hopefully by getting rid of some of these, everybody in the whole block will start taking more pride in their yards,” Cherry said.
Dickey believes the city is taking too much of a proactive approach. He wants the city to bring back a program from decades ago that would allow homeowners the opportunity to take out loans and fix the problems. “The city would come by and offer them a low interest rate, like 4 or 5 percent. But, they would tell them what all they had to get done,” Dickey said.
Cherry said inspectors mainly target homes that are in foreclosure or need to be condemned. In some cases notices are given to homeowners, but many don’t respond.
“We have our inspectors looking for these type of houses. Of course, we do the write up and notify the owner. We attempt to make, to have the owners take care of the situation,” Cherry said.
There are 28 additional homes Cherry would like to tear down before the end of the fiscal year.