ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) - They've been called nuisances, eyesores and downright dangerous, and starting Monday, 41 abandoned St. Louis County buildings will be torn down.
The old Glasgow Village Shopping Center is the first building scheduled for demolition. Long-time Glasgow Village residents remember the center as a hub for business and shopping in the area. But after years of neglect it's become just another abandoned building and one neighbors can't wait to see go.
"The kids are over there. It's dangerous over there and you can look at it and tell it's an eyesore," said Laura Dudley. She's lived across the street from the Glasgow Village Shopping Center for three years and has watched it become a serious concern for her neighborhood.
The shopping center used to be home to a barber shop, a beauty college, a café, a tavern and a grocery store. But those days are long gone.
"It hasn't been open for a couple of years," said Dudley.
As bad as the Glasgow Village Shopping center is on the outside it's even worse on the inside. A look over a plywood wall where a doorway once stood reveals the remnants of closed stores. The floors are littered with broken glass, rusted nails and screws. Some walls are covered with mold that can be smelled from outside and others have holes smashed through them.
A notice stapled to a wall by the St. Louis County Public Works Department shows an inspection was done on July 15th and the building was found to be more than 50-percent damaged. It says for health, safety and protection of the neighborhood the structure should be removed.
And some abandoned homes are also on the demolition list.
A small home in the 10,000 block of Imperial has burned twice in the last few years and neighbors are sick of it.
"It was pretty hard dealing with the county inspectors because there was so much red tape," said neighbor William Askew. "But I'm glad they're kind of opening up and allowing us to bring the neighborhood back up to par."
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says a change to the county's demolition code now allows crews to tear down buildings that have lost half of their value because of fire or abandonment.
"Over the next year we have put in $750,000 to take down old, abandoned homes and commercial areas that have been off the tax rolls so we can get the community ready for redevelopment whenever possible," said Dooley.
The County Executive hopes developers will buy the commercial properties after demolition and build new businesses that will help revitalize the surrounding communities.