DU QUOIN -- Vowing to rid the community of as many "eyesores" as possible, Du Quoin Mayor Guy Alongi Monday announced he has 10 -- make that 11 -- properties literally on the chopping block this summer.
Three condemned homes, he said, are immediately ready to be demolished. Three more are awaiting title work and the remaining four are pending.
"We've been waiting months, even years to move on these properties," Alongi said. "We were only able to knock down three or four last summer, but our plans are to knock down a bunch this summer."
City Clerk Andrew Croessman was succinct with his comment.
"Most of these (properties) are pretty far gone," he said.
The city got started on its demolition project with the removal of a former business at 20 N. Division St. on Monday, right next door to the popular bakery, Baked on Division.
Alongi said that the owners of the bakery are considering a drive-through service for customers with the extra space.
The mayor added that no other buildings in the downtown area are being targeted for removal this year. He said he is hopeful that the new TIF agreement in which property owners get reimbursed up to 25 percent of their cost to make repairs will continue to inspire positive change.
Demolition cost to the city varies with each propety. It could be as much as $15,000 in some instances when taking into account the tear down and cleanup process.
Alongi believes it's money well spent. He said the demolitions are key to the city's continued growth.
"I think that anytime you can knock down a building that is an eyesore to the community and a hazard to the neighborhood, it's a plus. Eleven scratches the surface. We probably have another 30 or 40 that need to be condemned. We are a small town. We have to pick and choose our battles."