St. John Missionary Baptist Church, in conjunction with Keep Morehouse Beautiful, began tearing down a dilapidated home on West Madison Avenue on Tuesday.
“We’re working together with the church to get this property cleared by the end of the week,” said KMB chairperson Vicki Carpenter. “This will be the fourth house that Keep Morehouse Beautiful has played a role in tearing down since December 2009, as part of the Main Corridor Project.”
St. John Missionary purchased the home last month by submitting the highest sealed bid to the Morehouse Parish Police Jury. Ruby Hamilton, a member of the church and KMB board of directors, discussed with Carpenter what should be done with the property.
“Vicki was really interested in tearing it down,” Hamilton said. “I approached my friend, Mr. Ivory Smith, a trustee on the board with the church, and suggested we all work together.”
The church agreed to enter into a contract with KMB to demolish the home.
“Keep Morehouse Beautiful gave us $1,500 to help pay the demolition crew, Willie Nelson Construction Company,” Smith said. “The total cost to tear it down was $3,600.”
Ivory said St. John Missionary bought the property across the street in 1998, which is now where Head Start is located.
“We rent out the church and the gym to help pay for activities in the community,” Smith said.
Smith said the property where the home is currently being torn down, will be used for parking in the future.
“Our property cannot hold everybody,” he said. “That lot will help out with parking for the church and the Community Enrichment Center.”
Christmas Realty owner Jimmy Christmas said the demolition of the home will help improve the entrance at the west end of Bastrop.
“It very well can enhance the property value on that end of town,” he said. “I’m excited about it.”
Carpenter said this was the largest home that’s been torn down in the Main Corridor Project.
“We’re hoping to tear down one more this year, but it depends on the property owner,” she said. “This is a partnership.”
Smith credits the demolition of the home to Carpenter and Hamilton.
“On behalf of our board members, Arthur Jones and Rev. Steve Conley, we really appreciate all the work these ladies put into this,” he said. “We hope this contributes to a better looking town. This is not the beginning or the end — we hope this continues.”