City of Ardmore exceeds goal for condemned house demolition in 2019

ARDMORE, Okla. (KXII) - The City of Ardmore is working to demolish condemned houses throughout the city which pose safety hazards for the people living around them.

Condemned houses are not only an eye sore at times, but can be a dangerous place and attract illegal activity.

Jessica Scott, director of community development for the city, said abandoned and condemned homes can also pose a fire risk.

"Especially in this colder weather, it's a great place for the homeless or vagrants to come in and they start a fire," Scott said. "They do property damage. It just kind of brings down the whole neighborhood."

Scott said they have a list of about 260 uninhabitable houses and usually focus on the 20 or 30 that are most severe.

Demolition is not the only option, officials also work with property owners to find methods to repair or sell the houses to be repaired.

"And we try to work with people to either get them remodeled, get them back up to code, get people living in them," Scott said. "Or if they're in such disrepair, where they need to be demolished, we work with people to get them demolished as well."

Once a house is demolished, the owner has about five years to pay back the cost of the demolition.

If not, the property belongs to the county.

Last year, the city demolished 53 houses, exceeding its goal of 50.

However, Scott said that number will likely drop this year due to rising prices for demolition and a limited budget.

Scott said the city usually budgets around $30,000 per fiscal year.

The company that hauls away concrete from foundations, driveways and stairs has new requirements for the size of the concrete hauled away: two feet by two feet.

"It makes it really more competitive bidding and its raised the price of our demolition because, now, you know, from 10 contractors, I only have three bidding who can actually break up the concrete that way," Scott said.

The city said it has eight more houses scheduled to be demolished before June.