Vacant houses and businesses, identified as drug havens by police, are being demolished in Petersburg.
Operation Renew is a joint effort between Petersburg and the National Guard. The city identified a dozen properties to be torn down. The National Guard executed the request, using counter-drug resources and funding.
Piece by piece, a former business, on Halifax Street in Petersburg tumbled. It was a sight that captured the attention of residents..
"It used to be a soul food restaurant and a lot of people would frequent their for breakfast in the morning," said Roger Noggin.
Police say the empty property, along with 11 other vacant properties in the city, were falling apart and attracting crime.
"These properties all have a drug nexus, which means a historical perspective drug dealing, drug using and drug havens," said Petersburg Police Chief John Dixon.
The city teamed up with the National Guard to get rid of the properties. All 12 that were targeted have been torn down.
"We can do more. It's all on what targets are provided and we'll plan the mission accordingly," said 1st Lt. Eric Johnson with the National Guard.
The $50,000 price tag for the project will be paid by the National Guard. The city calls it a win-win, demolition.
"If you clean up a neighborhood you make people feel better about the neighborhood. Part of it is beautification of the city. It clears the land for positive growth," Dixon added.
The city owns all of the demolished properties.
As for Noggin, and other onlookers, they hope to see more blighted properties flattened.
"It's an eyesore. I'm looking forward to whatever project they have in the near future," said Noggin.
The city has not decided what it will do with those empty lots.
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