The city of LaFollette is taking taking the issue of blighted properties into their own hands and tearing down more than 60 abandoned houses.


(WBIR - LaFollette) Abandoned buildings are an issue facing many communities, but the city of LaFollette is taking big steps to fix that problem.

Over the last year-and-a-half the city has demolished 58 houses, all of which had been condemned. The city plans to tear down about a half dozen more "soon". Tearing down all of the houses will cost the city $20,000 to $40,000.

One of the houses already torn down once stood on Nevada Street and was the home LaFollette's mayor, Michael Stanfield, and his older brother, George, grew up in.

"My mother has a picture of George and I sitting on these steps in the '50s," Mayor Stanfield said as he stood in front of the same steps.

On North 5th Street sits a brick house on top of a tall hill. Mayor Stanfield said It burned about a year ago and has since been empty. It will soon be torn down as well. Mayor Stanfield has a personal connection with a woman who once lived in the now abandoned house.

"When I used to pick up Ms. Lee's garbage on Monday's garbage run, she'd just about set her clock and by the time I'd stop to pick her garbage up I would always see her standing in the doorway waving at me. She'd always waved. Every Monday morning she would look for me on the garbage run. What she didn't know was I always looked for her too," he said.

Although Mayor Stanfield has a personal connection with several of the houses that have either already been torn down or will soon be torn down, he said demolishing the now abandoned houses is what's best for the city of LaFollette.

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