published Saturday, March 19th, 2011

Etowah eyes demolition projects

By Paul Leach/Correspondent
  • photo
    This Etowah, Tenn., home is among several properties city officials plan to “tear down, clean up or fix up” as soon as possible. Contributed photo from City of Etowah Building Inspector/Code Enforcement

ETOWAH, Tenn.—The city of Etowah is ready to demolish a number of derelict homes in the downtown area.

“We have several uninhabitable properties that need to be condemned, and we need a road map on how to go about it legally,” said City Manager Matthew Gravley.

Mayor Burke Garwood said the city has identified about 25 properties that need to be addressed, and the city plans to “tear down, clean up and fix up” the uninhabitable properties as soon as it can.

Gravley said it will cost the city $4,000 or more to condemn and demolish an abandoned and unsafe house if its owner cannot or will not do so.

City Attorney Russ Blair recently addressed the City Commission regarding its rights to initiate condemnation and demolition procedures on private properties.

He said Etowah has the right to pursue demolition procedures on private properties according to local codes, state codes and the International Property Management Code. The commission did not need to pass a special resolution on the matter, including the recouping of demolition costs through liens or other methods.

“We have to satisfy the public that we are doing our due diligence to get our money back at some point in time,” Garwood said.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. E-mail him at

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