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Vacant Smith Valley home set to be torn down

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A Center Grove area home that neighbors have complained is an eyesore will soon be torn down.

The county-owned home near Smith Valley and Peterman roads is empty. The gutters fell off a long time ago, and the garage door is broken.

Neighbors have complained about the look of the home at 4005 W. Smith Valley Road, and Commissioner Ron West is surprised it hasn’t been vandalized after sitting empty for so long.

The county bought the property in 2002 and the ranch home was used for a construction office while Smith Valley Road was widened. The home also was used as an office during a project to realign the intersection of Olive Branch and Morgantown roads. Commissioners have discussed demolishing the home for years.

This week, the county hired Tim White Excavating to demolish the home, leaving just the driveway behind. The project will cost $7,000, but no date has been set for the demolition. White previously was hired by the county to demolish some homes that were destroyed in the 2008 flood.

Outside of using the home for a construction office, the building has been empty for the past 12 years. The county winterizes the home and mows the grass.

Neighbors have complained the home looks bad, with gutter boards falling off the walls, but the building is structurally sound and doesn’t pose a serious danger of collapsing, West said.

“It just looks kind of seedy,” West said.

After the home is torn down, the county will still own the property and be responsible for mowing the lawn. The driveway is being left so highway department workers can easily park their vehicles there if they are working in the area.

The White River Township Fire District often will use buildings like this home for controlled burns, which allow firefighters the chance to practice in an actual fire. But the location of the home would cause too many problems, Chief Jeremy Pell said. The smoke from the home could lower visibility along the busy road, and drivers could be more at risk for an accident if they are distracted by what they might think is an unplanned home fire, Pell said.

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