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Uptown Lexington buildings graded by city

LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Not only does Jeanne Leonard work hard inside her candy shop, she also puts a lot of work into its exterior.

“We took those boards down and put new windows in,” said Leonard who owns The Candy Factory on North Main Street.

The shop is in Lexington’s Uptown District.

She says the hard work she’s done to maintain her building is paying off.

“Our report card was good,” Leonard said. “We got all As.”

She’s one of several property owners who got a report in the mail this week regarding the city’s commercial maintenance code.

The reports grade each of the commercial buildings in the Uptown area on how well the outside is maintained.

Inspectors made visits in February, grading each building on an overall, total scale of 0 to 106.

Zero being good, 106 being the worst.

“Those are some of the city’s oldest buildings,” said Tammy Absher, director of business and community development.

Absher says the reports aren’t just about looks but also safety.

“Making sure that they’re sealed up, that they’re safe, that they’re well-maintained,” Absher said.

Joshua Harris manages a commercial building on Center Street.

The top floor of the building scored a 33 which is good.

The first floor scored a 40, meaning it needs work.

“Our windows are bad because they need to be painted,” Harris said. “Door needs to be painted.”

Leonard, who scored a 30 for her shop, thinks the rating system is a good idea.

“People weren’t keeping their buildings up,” she said.

Harris says he’s on the fence.

“For me, it wasn’t that clear,” Harris said. “It was kind of saying, ‘Here’s the problem, here’s what you need to fix’ but it’s not how you need to fix it.”

Property owners have some time to make repairs.

Absher says they have about 30 to 60 days to make small repairs, and six to nine months to make larger repairs.