RICHMOND/HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Blighted and vacant homes that were once an eyesore for neighbors and an attraction for squatters have been demolished.
Bon Secours began demolishing four of the empty homes Tuesday, three in the 5800 block of Paxton Street and one on Maple Avenue in Henrico. Neighbors couldn’t be happier to see the homes reduced to rubble.
Milton Shepperson, who lives in the area, shared his perspective on the vacant buildings.
“Well I am glad to see that they finally decided to do something about them,” Shepperson said.
Bon Secours purchased the homes several years ago with plans for expanding St. Mary’s Hospital, which is just a block away. Yet, neighbors say the homes sat vacant and neglected ever since.
This, in turn, led them to begin to worry about their safety.
“They have been a hazard for several years; they have been vacant and [in] rundown condition. [Squatters] have been staying in them,” Shepperson said.
Bon Secours is still working to get a permit to tear down eight additional homes on the Richmond side of the neighborhood. They anticipate demolishing the homes along Park Avenue and Pratt Streets in the coming weeks.
Neighbor Sha Shabazz shared her perspective on the buildings being demolished with 8News.
“They’re doing something, and I think people actually wanted to see something happen with the area and so maybe it can confirm things are moving forward,” Shabazz said.
When asked, the hospital system said they couldn’t give a long-term plan for the vacant lots quite yet.
“Anything is better than what we have here now,” Shepperson said.
Bon Secours said they plan in the short term to leave as many trees intact as they can, remove the debris and then grade the area.
This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.