Blight on your Block: South Richmond

Blight on your Block: South Richmond

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The On Your Side Investigators are getting answers and results for Richmonders fed up with the blight on their block. One of the properties called in by a citizen is on Terminal Avenue in South Richmond.

It has been on the city's radar since 2001. We started asking questions about it this week and officials just told us they're giving notice that the blighted, vacant property will be demolished soon.

"Everybody else's house on this street looks decent," neighbor Derrick Brice, who called us about 2208 Terminal Avenue, pointed out. "They look good. So you come look at this and it's just horrible."

He calls the home an eyesore and a danger.

"The grass got so high and then a snake crawled out of there and went in my yard," Brice recalled. "I took a picture of the snake because it's a black snake. I'm from the country and you don't mess with black snakes."

Brice believes the worst case scenarios running through his mind are bringing down property values.

"I'm thinking drug deals or somebody could stash something in there like weapons or anything like that or somebody do a real crime like a murder or something they could just throw the body in there," he feared.

The eight-year-resident says he and his neighbors have called the city to complain.

There are signs on the home, which prove property inspectors have been there. In fact, since 2001 they've issued 50 to 60 citations for the property alone.

City officials say they've reached out to the property owners at different addresses but never heard back. So we gave it a try.

Going through city records, property owners Henry and Vivian Staples now live at separate addresses. We found the most recent listing for Henry Staples at a trailer park with a "no trespassing sign." We went to an address listed for Vivian Staples and even left a phone message for her telling her we had questions about the Terminal Avenue property. We did not hear back from her.

When they see situations like this, city officials speculate it often means the couple has separated and that might be the reason the property has become blighted.

One day after we started asking questions, those officials told NBC12 "a Notice of Imminent Demolition is expected to be issued within the next 48 hours."

"That sounds great," Derrick Brice said, reacting to the news. "I can't wait until they demolish it and we're over with it and I don't have to look for it anymore. I think calling NBC12 and get you all to come out here and take a look at it, if I didn't call, I don't think anything would have changed at all."

The property inspector believes the home could be demolished in the next 90 days. After that, the parcel could be set for tax sale.

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