The City of Parkersburg plans to demolish around 25 houses this year.
At one time condemned homes were used as training ground for firefighters, but the risk of asbestos prevents that in most cases.
A house must have significant structural damage for it to be demolished.
And the city must give the owner time to make improvements.
If the owner chooses to sell, the city must give the new owner equal time to improve the home.
But once a house is torn down the city pays to maintain that property.
"That's the plight of government being involved in a demolition. It's just not an easy process and it's not a short process," says Parkersburg Mayor Bob Newell.
The city has given some property from demolished homes to Habitat for Humanity to build on.