Man sues city of Kinston over properties on list to be torn down

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In the city of Kinston, a group of people are taking issue with several houses being on the city’s list to be torn down.

They’re even going so far as suing the city.

The city says the two structures in question, one on Gordon Street and the other on Trianon Street are on the tear down list because they’re not safe but the owner says they are. .

Joseph Askew owns the two properties built in the early 1900’s, he says one was the first African American daycare in Kinston and the other one was used to house slaves.

Askew says, “All these other cities, Wilmington, Goldsboro, they are preserving history, Kinston is the only one trying to tear it down.”

Askew was given over 6 months to work on the property last year.

Time that he says wasn’t enough.

So, that’s where the lawsuit comes in.

“We want to turn this building into a place for counseling, job training, we want to teach people to be carpenters, painters, truck drivers.” Askew adds.

Askew says the city is singling him and his property out.

Kinston city council met last week and made their final decision to tear the structures down.

City planner Adam Short says Askew’s properties aren’t the only one’s on the list to be torn down, there’s actually around 50 and they’re all over the city of Kinston.

The city could not comment on camera because of the pending lawsuit but I was told that houses are on the list to be torn down if they’re not up to code and are a threat to the surrounding area and, according to the city, these property’s fit that list.

Askew says with the lawsuit, he hopes to be able to keep the property.

The city couldn’t give a timeline on when the houses are set to be torn down but say that everything is on hold because of the lawsuit.

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