St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley got behind the controls of a backhoe and started chipping away at the bombed-out looking Glasgow Village Shopping Center.
Susan Groves grew up around here and said it’s a little sad to see a part of her childhood torn down.
“But I think this is a good thing, too,” Groves said. “This is a place for kids to come and tear things up and do things they shouldn’t be doing here.”
The county kicked off an aggressive program Monday afternoon to tear down vacant properties that have fallen into severe neglect. The effort started by taking down the long-abandoned strip mall in north St. Louis County.
At a media event, Dooley told residents like Groves the new program is proof that officials are listening to their concerns.
"We understand that neglect will do a neighborhood very badly,” Dooley said. “We hear what the neighbors are telling us and we are doing something about it. We are listening to what you are saying.”
Changes in the county’s demolition code mean that officials can demolish a property that has lost half its value as a result of fire or abandonment.
Under the new rules, there are more than 40 structures slated to be torn down.
Officials say the next step will be packaging together the land where the properties once stood in hopes of attracting future development.
Follow Tim Lloyd on Twitter: @TimSLloyd