SUMTER, S.C. — News19 is on your side working to get answers for a Sumter resident concerned about an abandoned property that he says is causing issues at his own house.
His name is Paul Scott, and he’s lived in the city for about six years. When an empty property behind him became overgrown, he became concerned.
“This tree, as you can see, leaning over, fell down and I had to cut it out of my yard,” Scott said, “and last week we had a little storm and the branch fell and I cut that up, and my grandchildren stay here with me and I'm afraid to send them out in the yard to play because I’m afraid something might fall down."
City leaders said they have had multiple complaints about properties in the area.
In response, so far, more than 400 homes have been demolished by the city through federal grant funding, but there’s still a waitlist of people in need.
“We want to do all of them. We want to try to take as many dilapidated houses out of the community as we possibly can, but without the funding to do them all, then we a lot of times have to wait,” Code Enforcement Director John Macloskie said.
Funding’s not the only challenge. Macloskie said the process also requires the city to reach out to the property owner who might not live in the area.
“A lot of the homes that are dilapidated or are in bad condition are heir property, out of town, out of state owners,” Macloskie said, “and if we can't get physically get in touch with that person, then we can't get a release from them to do that work.”
Macloskie said the city has reached out to the property owners in Scott’s case and is working with them to resolve the issue.
Scott is just hoping for a solution soon.
“I would like to see it cleaned up over there,” Scott said, “because I pay taxes and I protect my property and I think everybody should take care of their own property also."