AT&T donates $25,000 to Bluefield to help with dilapidated structures

·2 min read

Aug. 3—BLUEFIELD — More dilapidated residential structures will come down in Bluefield, thanks to AT&T.

The company donated $25,000 for that purpose Monday through its Believe Appalachia program.

"We are so appreciative of AT&T and the Believe Appalachia campaign for helping the City of Bluefield address the continued problem of dilapidated structures," Mayor Ron Martin said. "These structures erode the quality of life for those who live around them. AT&T's contribution will enable us to remove up to four more of these blighted buildings, making our neighborhoods more attractive, and safer for residents and our first responders."

Bluefield has an aggressive demolition program and AT&T's contribution will be used for that purpose, including the demolition of a structure Monday at 108.5 Bryant Street.

The campaign is focused on helping first responders combat the opioid epidemic in the Appalachian region, and dilapidated structures can often become places for drug dealers and users to congregate.

Each structure demolished removes a potential site for drug use and prostitution, said Bluefield Police Chief Dennis Dillow.

"It is essential that we get these houses down so that these neighborhoods will be safe places to live," he said.

Bluefield Fire Chief Chad Bailey said most houses being demolished are also extremely susceptible to fire. "

"These places are tinderboxes," he said, adding that "a fire in one of these structures can be extremely dangerous."

Andy Feeney, AT&T West Virginia State President, was on hand for the presentation.

"AT&T is proud to support the community of Bluefield and its first responders with a contribution as part of our Believe Appalachia initiative to help make the remediation of this property a reality," he said. "Revitalizing the neighborhood clears the way for new construction and means police officers, firefighters and first responders have one less abandoned structure to be concerned about."

The Believe Appalachia initiative is one of several AT&T Believes programs that the company has launched to lift up communities across the country.

— Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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