Moberly planning to demolish dilapidated houses

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MOBERLY— The city of Moberly is petitioning the federal government for money to demolish more than 60 run-down, abandoned or dilapidated houses. 

The city has applied for a $200 million grant from the federal government through its Community Development Block Grant program. 

If Moberly receives the grant, residents will pay $500 instead of the thousands of dollars that demolitions typically cost. Homeowners have to put in a request from the city for their homes to be considered for demolition.

Aaron Decker, who is a building inspector for the city, said part of the reasons for the program is to make the city look better, but added the program will also help reduce safety hazards and increase the property value of nearby homes.

"Dilapidated property or condemned property often invite delinquency, problems," Decker said. "Sometimes it's harboring of animals or people that shouldn't be in the property. It's a safety issue."

Aimee Taylor lives with her children next to a house the city said is one of the worst ones. Taylor said her kids play on the street and with the house being abandoned, she is concerned about safety.

"You don't really see anyone go into the house," Taylor said.  "I would say it would be kind of a danger to the community because people could just ramble off in there."

While the city hopes this grant will help them accomplish the demolitions, Decker said the city has been budgeting money for demolitions for years. 

Currently, the city has budgeted $144,000 toward the project. It hopes that the grant money will supplement that amount and allow them to do more demolitions.

Aimee said she appreciates the city's efforts, but is sad to see pieces of Moberly history torn down. 

"That's one of the oldest houses that I've seen. It's an old house," Taylor said. "It'd be nice if it could be restored and just blocked off and stay there."

The city expects the Community Development Block Grant program will decide who gets the grant by fall .

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