Christiansburg makes inventory of blight, hopes to boost property values

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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) The Town of Christiansburg is ramping up its efforts to get rid of abandoned buildings.

The town is making a list of homes, churches and empty buildings that are an eyesore in neighborhoods with the plan of fixing them up, or tearing them down.

So far the town has identified about 10 buildings that need to go.

"Would you want to move in with that as your neighbor?" David Smith said.

Smith has lived beside the former Holy Faith Temple Church of God in Christ for nearly 20 years. It's seen better days.

"The building is at risk, the roof is at risk of falling in at any time," Smith said.

He's watched critters make their homes here and slowly seen it fall into disrepair. Now he's afraid it will lower the value of his home.

"Absolutely. Take a good look at that thing man," Smith said. "This is a nice little neighborhood."

Christiansburg plans to knock it down soon. It's part of a new inventory of buildings the town is making now that may be beyond fixing.

"Right now we're assessing our stock of properties in town and we're looking all throughout the town we're not focused on one specific area," Melissa Powell, Christiansburg's public information officer, said.

One building was demolished this week. There aren't many buildings that are considered blight, and Christiansburg wants to keep it that way.

Previously, the town took complaints from neighbors then reviewed the property. Now town staff is working to find these buildings before a complaint has to be made.

Before now, demolition really wasn't part of the town's vocabulary. Now it's taking a more proactive approach.

If the town can find the owner, they'll encourage repairs to the building first, if that's even an option.