GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A new initiative to get rid of blighted homes kicked off Friday in Georgetown County.

The first of about 15 homes to be demolished was torn down in the historic Graves Station community, just off the highway near Georgetown.

“After 1865 and the Emancipation Proclamation, this community was carved out from the overall plantation areas and created for the descendants of those people,” Georgetown County Councilman Everett Carolina said.

Removing those homes comes after meeting with residents to discuss their priorities.

“Once we had our town hall meeting with the citizens, we identified three projects that we wanted to get underway,” Carolina said. “Litter control, blight removal, and flood control.”

The project will cost about $120,000, Carolina said.

“This project here is a result of funding from the American Rescue Act. We had community leaders identify burnt-out, distressed, and abandoned properties within the community.”

While more than a dozen homes are set to be torn down, the county does have additional money to tear down more. At least eight homeowners have expressed interest in having buildings on their property torn down.

“We plan on having these 15 houses torn down and finished within 30 days,” said Andra Basnight, who runs TSIAC International, which is based in Charleston. His company is removing the homes.

Carolina said he would like to see some one- or two-bedroom cottages and some affordable housing built on the properties, but that will be up to the landowners.