City plans to demolish 4 homes

Four houses that were damaged during the 2008 floods likely will be demolished before summertime, marking the end of a years-long project in Franklin.

The city plans to purchase the houses at 149 W. South St., 149 Pitt St., 467 Hemphill St. and 468 Hemphill St. from the Franklin Development Corp. by the end of the month and then tear them down by April, Franklin senior planner Joanna Myers said. Those four homes are the last to be torn down by the city as part of a project to buy and demolish flood-damaged homes that started after the 2008 flood.

The Franklin Development Corp. purchased the homes in October 2013, as the city had trouble buying the homes on their own. One of the homeowners had died, two others moved out of state and could not be reached and the last home was owned by a mortgage company that did not want to sell. Once the properties were included in the county’s tax sale for unpaid taxes, the Franklin Development Corp. purchased the four homes with the plan to then sell them to the city for the buyout. The city could not purchase the properties at a tax sale with grant money.

But under that process, the city had to wait a year to buy the properties from the Franklin Development Corp. so they could be torn down as part of the buyout program.

Demolition is slated to begin in mid-February or early March, Myers said.

After the 2008 flood, Franklin applied for a grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which allowed the city to buy 66 homes, demolish them and keep the lots vacant to ensure that no future homeowners could face the same fate on that property. Since first receiving the grant in September 2009, the city has received more than $4 million to complete the project. Under the original grant that was awarded, the project was set to be done by July 2012.