By Terri Ferguson Smith / firstname.lastname@example.org
The Meridian Star
Work is scheduled to begin this week in demolishing more than 80 houses in Meridian.
Because tearing down houses is a faster process than hauling the debris away, logistics is an important factor during demolition work. An agreement between Lauderdale County officials and the Meridian City Council will allow numerous houses to be torn down in the city starting this week, according to County Supervisor Wayman Newell. Although the county had planned to wait on nine new dump trucks to arrive, they will proceed with the older fleet until those are sold.
Preparing to demolish dilapidated houses is a long process, but long-term it is good for the community, Newell said Monday following a Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors meeting. This is the right time of year to start the project because the dust isn't as bad, he said.
"The city condemns it, and gets the asbestos out of it and pays the landfill fees," Newell said. "The county uses its manpower, equipment, and hauls it to the landfill."
The cooperative agreement has been going on for about eight to 10 years, he said.
"We've got two crews — two backhoes working," Newell said. "You've got to have operators for the equipment and operators for the trucks."
One crew is on the east side of Meridian; the other crew is on the west side.
"You can tear one down in 15 minutes and then it takes, maybe half a day, depending on the size, to get it moved," Newell said.
Tearing down houses that are in no shape to be renovated helps the community, Newell said.
"You have roaches, varmints and rats, you have drug trade, prostitution, whatever may be going on in those houses," Newell said. "Once they are torn down, you make it safer for that community."
Although the rain won't slow the demolition, wet weather can slow down the process because dump trucks may not be able to go into the landfill because of mud, he said.
The first houses on the list are on Fifth Avenue and Ninth Avenue.