Response to dilapidated houses

Published 8:40 am Friday, September 2, 2011

To the Editor:
I wish to commend Town Councilman Roy Miller for staying on the case of addressing the plague of dilapidated houses on the Tryon’s Eastside (TDB 8/25/11).
The sad commentary, as Leah Justice alludes to in her article, is that this battle has been going on now for two decades with little to no relief. In fact, the number of dilapidated houses continues to grow, and their degree of dilapidation increases by the day. Not only are they eyesores that detract from those homes that are maintained, but they also have a negative effect on property values, they provide sport for vandals, and they create health and safety issues for those who live in their midst.
As reported, some are now totally engulfed by kudzu, and you know it is bad when people actually start preferring the kudzu to the rottening and deteriorating structures. On East Howard Street alone, there are 13 houses that are unlivable in the space of less than half a mile! Add to that the ones on Markham, Cleveland, Peake, Livingston, and Lyle, and you begin to get the picture of a once vibrant community in serious decline.
Clearly, the Eastside, populated as it is mostly by elderly residents, is a victim of absentee property owners and a lackadaisical town government that sends out mixed messages and offers little relief to those who do maintain their properties. Nowhere else in Tryon would this situation be allowed to persist, but the fact is that the Eastside has historically been an afterthought when it comes to equitable delivery of services.
Other municipalities seem to be able to address similar situations—why can’t Tryon?
How many more tours of the community do we have to provide for town officials? How many more councilmen from the Eastside do we have to elect before we are heard and get some action? How many more meetings do we have to attend to address the same issues over and over and over again? How many more photos do people need to see before they get the picture? How much longer do people have to wait for relief from the encroachment of kudzu from abandoned properties, not to mention snakes, rats, bats, groundhogs, and God knows what else that have taken up residence there?
This situation is completely unacceptable, and it is long past time that the residents of the Eastside get some positive and sustained help in removing this blight. Simply speaking, these structures must come down. Now. We can ask questions and debate legalities later. Stay on the case, Roy.
– Dr. Warren J. Carson, former councilman, Tryon

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