Village officials fear vacant structures will become a target to potential arson.
The Mayor of Dresden said that they’ve dealt with 14 suspicious fires most within the same three block radius. It’s left the village police chief, fire chief and mayor trying to find ways to eliminate possible arson sites.
"My biggest concern obviously it’s hurting the economy of the village and some of the stores and businesses we’ve lost," said Village of Dresden David Matthew. "The biggest concern is we have an excellent volunteer fire department and have been lucky that there’s been minor things happen there, but it scares me the potential of someone getting hurt."
Three properties are on file with the county to potentially be torn down. One is on Main Street, the other on west 5th Street and one on 6th Street. The 6th Street property is of top priority and may be torn down when the county receives an additional $21,000 from the Moving Ohio Forward Grant. The grant’s used to tear down structures.
"Sometimes you feel like you’re making headway and then you end up with several more properties that do make your list of inventory and all we can do is hope for additional funding and continue to alleviate the blight structures in Muskingum County," said Shelia Sampson Community Development Coordinator.
Sampson said it takes around $7,500 to tear down a property, more if there is asbestos that needs removal. To date there are 100 proprieties on Muskingum County’s list of buildings to be torn down.