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.

One Response to "Derelicts"

  1. Annie   October 17, 2020 at 10:54 am

    Edgefield is not a metropolitan area. I can think of many, many large cities across this country that have hundreds of derelict buildings. Some people even have to live in them. I can even think of major cities that have hundreds of ugly buildings that are brand new. In fact, I can think of many cities that are simply disgusting places to live, work, and visit. They may have some “pretty” suburbs and newly developed mega buildings but who cares? If you want that, move to Charlotte. You’ll fit right in there.

    I’m pretty sure that part of the charm of most of the south, Edgefield included, is that we don’t get in each other’s business and call the city powers to complain about waist high grass or our neighbors in general. We don’t write Op Eds about how things “look.” This is very petty, and waist high grass is actually pretty… Nice and green and growing, healthy, and without any concrete or regular fossil fuel fumes.

    It’s a live and let live mentality here that seems to work just fine for the majority of us. It’s why we live here. We’ve got all types of people, places, and things living and working together in harmony.

    Suggesting the city or county seize someone’s property, like you recommend because it isn’t pretty, doesn’t meet your standards, or isn’t being used, is something people do in New York or Boston or Charlotte (now). Not that those cities are pretty or don’t have derelict buildings of thier own. They’re Super Spreaders of just about everything ugly in our country.

    What exactly is a “respectable neighborhood?” One where everyone works in their yard all day running lawn mowers and weed eaters? Touching up paint and pulling weeds constantly? One where only certain types of people live who like to call the authorities to complain about pettiness because they have nothing better to do, or just enjoy being spiteful? I guess there’s always “one” person like that in every town.

    Edgefield is a beautiful town in the COUNTRY. There are many different types of homes and buildings here and very few new subdivisions or new buildings. Thank God. We love it exactly how it is. It’s why we bought a home here.

    Perhaps you should try to purchase one of our derelict buildings on one of the main arteries and make it pretty. Build a new live/work place that looks like an Row House building. You know, the type they’re building allover the country now. Augusta even has a few of those going up. Please don’t.

    We need another Dollar General, fast food joint, or some other shiny new, cheaply constructed building about as much as we need newcomers complaining about living here because every house or building or neighbor isn’t pretty enough for thier sensibilities.

    Edgefield is beautiful just as it is. Isn’t that why you moved here? Try getting to know your new neighborhood and the people in it. Learn about our history. Respect what we have here and don’t try to change it to meet your own personal standards.

    Write an Op Ed about something you don’t want to change about our living here, something you enjoy and love about our tiny little piece of Heaven.

    Do not encourage authorities to commit awful crimes against our community and those who cannot or will not maintain their personal property because it isn’t pretty enough.

    We don’t want that mindset around here. If we did, Edgefield would not be Edgefield and you wouldn’t have moved here.