State's storm ravaged homes still standing

It may be months before storm ravaged homes purchased by the state are torn down in the Holt Community.

Margaret Brown's Flower Shop sits directly where a new Eastern By-Pass is to come through.{} While its years away, she's surrounded by nothing but storm ravaged homes.{}"All across the street the houses are vacant.{}I{}just wish they clean it up out here. It looks like the tornado just happened yesterday," says Brown.

Most have sat that way since the tornado last April, but ABC 33/40 has learned some homes were purchased by the State Department of Transportation years ago to make way for the bypass but they haven't been touched.

Brown says they've become a nuisance to her business.{} "There are problems with roaches and rodents and people still going in and out of the houses."

Monday -- a local Department of Transportation representative told ABC 33-40 they are bidding on a contract to demolish 25 to 30 homes in the area.

They're aiming for the fall -- but there is no guarantee.{} Residents don't buy it so they've started a petition for demolition.{}

"They 've been left this way intentionally to lower the property so they can come along and scoop them up for the eastern by pass," said John Wathen, a holt resident.

State leaders insist that's no the case.{} They admit, demolition has been delayed but say they're required to have a certain number of homes before issuing a contract.

Still, that doesn't help Brown's business.{} "A lot of customers say they were not affected by the tornado but says it does scare them to still come here and see all the destruction."