Applications already being received for second round of Mercer County demolitions


Bluefield Daily Telegraph

PRINCETON — People interested in getting decaying structures torn down — but can't afford to do it — are already putting in grant applications for Mercer County's second round of demolitions.

Dilapidated Structures Officer Lori Mills said Wednesday to the Mercer County Commission that she had already received 25 to 30 applications so far for demolition grants. Accepted applications will become part of the county's second phase of demolitions.

In late March, the county finished spending a $1.5 million state Department of Environmental Protection grant for demolishing dilapidated structures. About 174 structures were torn down during this first phase, Mills said. The department awarded the county a new $750,000 demolitions grant last January.

Mills said Wednesday that she hopes to see around 100 structures demolished with this grant funding.

"We're starting Phase II of the grant cycle where we got an additional $750,000," Mills told the commissioners. "The first round we had around a million and a half, and it was pretty simple with the first round with the fact that we didn't do any liens, there wasn't any additional paperwork, there weren't any payments or things of that nature."

This new round of applications comes with new requirements.

"But with this second phase, the DEP is asking us to have more accountability for the property owner," Mills said. "So we did decide some meetings back to do a three-year lien on houses that will be released after the three years. Now if the homeowner wants to sell that property, then it would be to satisfy the lien that we will have in order to release that so they could sell it."

A different approach will be needed for applicants wanting to demolish mobile homes.

"For mobile homes, because we can't file a lien because it's personal property, we have decided the homeowner's portion would be $500 on a single-wide and $1,000 on double-wides," Mills said.

Mills said she spoke about the mobile homes with County Administrator Vicky Reed and they decided it would be best to have a second account for the owners' portion when mobile homes are demolished.

There were also discussions about whether to have a payment plan.

Commissioner Gene Buckner said that trying to collect money with a payment plan would be a "horrendous" process and said such a fee should be paid in one sum. County Clerk Verlin Moye suggested drafting a contract for mobile home owners seeking demolition grants.

Commissioner Greg Puckett asked Mills to write a contract and present it during the commission's June meeting. Moye also recommended speaking with Prosecuting Attorney Brian Cochran and the state Auditor's Office.

Mills said applications are available on the door of her office at the Memorial Building in Princeton, which is near the Mercer County Courthouse, and by contacting her.

The office's phone number is 304-431-8538 and Mills can also be reached at 304-325-6354.

The email address is

— Contact Greg Jordan at

Contact Greg Jordan at