There used to be a restaurant, on the left side of Rt. 39, near the city limit of Richwood. The business had been closed for several years and the building grew into such disrepair that the front of the building came loose and fell into the parking lot. When I saw what happened there, I hoped we would not see the same thing happen here in Marlinton.
About, two weeks ago, I observed roofing debris on the sidewalk in front of the former music building on Main Street. A closer inspection revealed a roofing nail, lying point up, on the sidewalk. Last week, a board dropped out of the eve of the building onto the sidewalk below. The property owner in Texas was contacted that day. This is what prompted blocking off a section of the sidewalk in front of the building.
This type of situation is what makes Abandoned Buildings a major concern in every small town. Buildings that aren’t in use, maintained or for sale, create a negative impression about the town.
It can help if a vacant commercial building looks occupied. A teapot collection in a storefront or a desk and chair placed in an office space can make a huge difference. Investing in some cleanup can pay dividends when a property does sell. Otherwise, who wants to buy a property that even the owner does not see worthy of investment? Nobody.
Vacant lots need tending, too.
In either case, Code enforcement becomes the only line of defense for municipalities. In most cases, the property owner will be the one held responsible for cleaning up the lot or building, even though he or she may not be the one doing the littering.
Take a look.