ROCKINGHAM — The cleanup of dilapidated houses in one neighborhood continues.
The Rockingham City Council on Tuesday approved a demolition ordinance for an abandoned home at 109 Kinney Street.
According to Assistant City Manager John Massey, minimum housing proceedings began in March.
Massey said the city had been in contact with one of the multiple property owners — listed as Alton Hoke, Russell Brandy, George Brandy, Dwayne Jocelyn, Henry Little Jr., Betty Little and Tonya Little.
Photos included in the agenda packet appear to show an overgrown yard and collapsing porch.
“As you can see, they’ve made no effort to repair or board up or close up the property,” Massey said, adding that they are heirs “scattered all over the country” and have no interest in maintaining the property.
Last summer, concerned residents approached the council about clearing out abandoned houses in the neighborhood. Massey said this is one of the houses that was complained about.
This makes the fifth demolition ordinance for that area since December. The others included three on Brookwood Avenue and one on Bush Street.
The city has to go through a lengthy legal process — which includes performing a title search, attempting to contact property owners by certified mail and advertising in the print newspaper — before a demolition ordinance is presented to the council.
“If all the stars align … the absolute quickest it can be done is six to seven months,” Massey told the Council on Tuesday. “That’s if everything lines up perfectly,” adding that the process can take up to 10 months.
Massey previously told the RO that the cost to the city to demolish a home can range from $4,000-$15,000 depending on if it needs asbestos abatement or if the fire department can use it for training.
The city has been involved in discussions with Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills, including putting the organization in contact with several other property owner heirs, according to Massey.
He said the hope is that Habitat can acquire some of the properties for renovation or to tear them down and rebuild.
“That’s a promising partnership I would bet results in some positive things,” said Mayor John Hutchinson.
Habitat has built 17 homes in Richmond County since 2005, with the most recent being dedicated in late March.
At that time, Executive Director Amie Fraley said four new applicants in Richmond County had recently been approved, adding that the organization was also working on “bigger land deals.”
The council also appointed Kim Williams as a deputy city clerk following a recommendation by City Manager Monty Crump.
Crump said there are times when City Clerk Sabrina McDonald is out and documents need signing, adding that Williams, who is a notary, is usually in the building.
McDonald was a deputy clerk before being promoted in 2017 following the retirement of Gwendolyn Swinney.
Williams has been city events coordinator for two decades, responsible for the Plaza Jam summer concert series, National Night Out and previous spring events downtown.