By Blaney Pridgen

All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views  and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser. 

There are five or six major ways to come into the Edgefield city limits.  North, south, east, and west. The approaching countryside is attractive, even beautiful.  On the edge of town and once inside the town limits, there are many beautiful homes and buildings.  Also, there are many derelict buildings.  Many.

I want to be very clear about what I mean.  I’m not referring to any home where folks reside.  I’m not referring to any active business.  I’m not even referring to vacant properties where some care is evident.  A derelict building is a place where no person and no business has occupied for years.  The paint is peeling, the weeds are grown up, the roof is rotting.  The state of disrepair is so far gone that one cannot imagine what it would take to make the property useful.  And, I want to be clear that I am not referring to any property that has a remote possibility of becoming something because of its history or location.  No, I am referring to hopeless places that drag the hopeful properties down.

Perhaps each derelict place has a story which sort of explains why it exits as it is.  An owner might be hoping that some tenant will show up one day.  Demolition is very expensive.  Maybe the pitiful old eye sore is embedded in an ancient probate misery.  Do the town and county powers that be care?  Is condemning and seizing a property hamstrung by a labyrinth of pressures and interests?  Golly gee, these derelicts sure look bad!  If Edgefield were a metropolitan area, they would be the habitat of street people and crack addicts.  Some residents my age and older may remember what these places used to be and who owned them or still own them.  I hope they know some reason for ignoring this problem.  I can’t imagine what that might be.

Well, I’m rather new to Edgefield and am not a property owner.  Furthermore, I am not offering a solution.  I don’t know what can be done and some would say it is none of my business, I understand.  It just seems so very sad to me that too many properties are so notoriously decaying away right under the noses of so many residents who obviously care about Edgefield.

I know a neighborhood in another state where all of the homeowners care about their homes and yards, except for one.  Those that care, care in different ways with different tastes and different energies, but they all care, except for one.  The one lets the weeds grow almost waist high.  That house needs paint.  There are several cars in the driveway that don’t move much.  That house is right in the middle of a respectable neighborhood on the main road.  Some of the residents have tried to do something.  Nothing worked, not even the free offer to at least keep the grounds mowed.  Lack of this and lack of that, romantic notions of freedom to not care this and fears of restraining actions that, and in the end,plain old indifference plant a big blight in the middle of beautiful.  There’s one, just one, in that neighborhood.

Drive into Edgefield from any of the main arteries and start counting.  There’s a whole lot more than one.

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