Fairfax County officials are out to strip away blight, which often takes the form of abandoned buildings -- unwelcome eyesores for county residents.
The county removed one of the area's larger eyesores when officials demolished a long-vacant building on Old Keene Mill Road in Springfield. The county plans to build a 270-space commuter parking lot in the space that once housed a Circuit City store.
"It's been a problem for the community ever since Circuit City moved out," said Supervisor Jeff McKay, D-Lee District.
McKay said Circuit City left the building roughly half a decade ago, and the county waited years for an opportunity to buy the 118,000-square-foot property in the hopes of tearing the "graffiti magnet" down.
County officials got their chance in March, and the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to buy the land from Monument Realty for $4.5 million.
A county staff member said the demolition cost about $154,000. The parking lot is scheduled to be finished this fall, although the staff member could not provide its construction costs.
The Circuit City teardown is one of a handful of blighted properties the county hopes to wipe away from the local landscape this year.
The Board of Supervisors at its most recent meeting targeted eight other smaller buildings for removal.
"We probably have 10 or 20 properties a year that get to this point," McKay said.
Properties are considered "blighted" if they endanger the public's health, safety or welfare because of dilapidation or deterioration, according to the county's regulations.
The county will take action only if the property has been vacant for more than a year, is no longer being maintained and has been the subject of complaints.
Most of the properties the county has targeted have been vacant for at least five years. The cost of the demolition typically runs between $25,000 and $50,000, though in most cases the county expects to recoup its expenditures from the property's owner.
"I've gotten rid of probably a dozen properties in my district alone that were around for decades just plaguing neighborhoods," McKay said.