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Abandoned Elkhart Middle property costs tens of thousands to maintain

Posted at 7:28 PM, May 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-09 19:30:25-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond residents are calling for renovations of abandoned school buildings in the city that are causing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars to maintain.

"It's pretty sad. It's just abandoned there… nothing really much goes on,” said DJ Kallejero about Elkhardt Middle school.

Kallejero works at the Barber shop next door.

"We had kids from the school that used to come after school with their parents to get their haircuts,” he said.

School leaders closed the school in 2015 because of severe mold and air quality issues in the building. Since that time, CBS 6 discovered boarded up windows and a few screens on the ground.

CBS 6 discovered that school leaders control the building and it's costing city taxpayers $76,000 a year to maintain it. Now the building is in the process of being demolished.

"It's a shame. It's a shame,” said Kallejero.

“That's your money,” said CBS 6 reporter Sandra Jones.

"Yeah, because that should be money to put back into repairing it," said Kallejero.

Clark Springs Elementary, another vacant school in the city, is in noticeably better condition. School leaders said Clark Springs is open for emergency use only.

It's costing city taxpayers $59,000 to keep the school operational.

Richmond residents recently reached out to CBS 6 Problem Solvers for answers about the conditions at the former Oak Grove Elementary in South Richmond.

Graffiti, boarded up windows and high grass are now hallmarks of the former Oak Grove Elementary School. Trash and debris litter the grounds of the abandoned community landmark.

School officials closed the school of in 2013 to make way for the new Oak Grove - Bellemeade Elementary nearby.

At this time, there are no plans to renovate the building, which is costing taxpayers $26,000 a year to maintain.

"I would hate to see it torn down or destroyed,” said Barbara Starkey-Goode.

The property is part of Councilwoman Reva Trammell’s district. She said the structure was not surplused back to the city after it closed in 2014.

However, she said she is willing to do whatever it takes to renovate and save the community landmark.

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