HUTCHINSON — At first glance, nothing seems abnormal on William Street in the Careyville neighborhood.
Orange and red leaves flitter down from mature trees and cover small front yards.
But on closer look, telltale signs of what is to come are starting to emerge.
The windows and doors on two homes are shuttered. A blue sedan with "security" marked on the side idles at an intersection. And a new foundation is going in on Avenue G.
Things are getting ready to change and change drastically.
In August, Florida-based VigIndustries announced a proposal to buy out 30-plus properties on the northeast edge of Careyville.
The proposal was driven by concerns that sinkholes could develop from brine wells on the neighboring property, which is owned by VigIndustries.
In late September, the city gave the proposal a green light.
Over the past month, many of the affected homeowners have signed sale agreements and have begun to move out of their homes.
VigIndustries has hired Strawn Contracting to shutter the homes that are no longer occupied and also has hired a person to patrol the neighborhood watching for potential vandals that might be lured by the prospect of vacant homes.
The company is hopeful demolition of the shuttered homes can start within the next 30 days, said Debra Waters, legacy manager for VigIndustries.
Some homes will be saved from the wrecking ball, though. Instead, they'll be moved to other lots around the city before they are resold.
On a sunny afternoon last week, Dallas Macklin and his neighbor, Larry Madden, stood in the driveway separating their homes — both of which are included the buyout — and chatted about the neighborhood.
"I really think morale is pretty good," Macklin said as Madden nodded in agreement. "It's kind of hard to look at the boarded-up homes."
Macklin and Madden both expect to move out of their homes next month, and Macklin said he expects most of his neighbors will leave Careyville over the winter.
In the meantime, Macklin is dismantling parts of his home to take with him or to sell.
VigIndustries is purchasing the homes for fair market value, but since the homes are destined for demolition, residents have permission to do anything with the homes they want.
"I sold the garage — it's going to Inman," Macklin said. "And I sold my storm doors. They were almost new and I couldn't see them getting crushed up."
Madden, on the other hand, isn't messing with fixtures. After VigIndustries paid him for the house, he sold it again to C&M Investments, which plans to move the home just down the road and onto a new foundation going in at Avenue G and William.
C&M Investments is a partnership between Jim Cooprider and Wendell Miller, of Miller Homebuilders. The two men own about 50 rental properties around town, including one on William Street that is on the buy-out list.
They have purchased four other homes in the buy-out area — three on William Street and one on Carey Boulevard — and plan to move them to various lots around the city.
Madden's home will be the first to be moved, said Cooprider.
The partners don't yet have buyers for the soon-to-be moved homes, but are looking, Cooprider said. At least one home, Cooprider said, would likely be sold back to the resident who currently lives in it.
Cooprider explained that while several residents considered moving their homes to other lots, doing so is a "logistics nightmare."
"It can be overwhelming," he said. "It's not like you just call a mover and it's done. You have to find a lot, get the city's blessing, and find a mover and a concrete crew. Then you have to build a foundation to put it on and get water, sewer and electricity hooked up."Plus, the cost involved is offset by the fact that they plan to resell the homes while residents moving their own homes would not have that benefit.