Blame For Blighted Properties In Monessen Reaches Across Globe

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland ...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Westmoreland County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mayor Lou Mavrakis drove slowly through Monessen, block by block, pointing out one vacant, blighted building after another in the city of 7,700 along the Monongahela River.

“That belongs to me,” he said, pointing to a house with a collapsing roof that has become the responsibility of the city and the mayor.

Tax records show the building is one of 264 structures and lots in the city that have been abandoned by their owners. More than 26 percent of the city’s 734 blighted properties are owned by people from 24 states and five foreign countries, beyond the legal reach of Monessen officials.

“It’s almost impossible to get in touch with these owners,” Mavrakis said.

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/westmoreland/6562693-74/property-owners-monessen#ixzz3ACc2e4tx
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Summer Workers Help Fight Mon Valley Neighborhood Blight

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Allegheny County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mon Valley communities are reliant on the helping hands of summer workers as they battle blight through maintenance projects.

In third class cities such as McKeesport and Clairton — once-thriving mill towns that decreased in population and economic activity with the decline of the steel industry in the 1970s and ’80s — cityscapes have changed over the years.

Many neighborhoods that were lined with well-kept homes transformed into urban decay where residential properties are separated by overgrown lots and dilapidated structures. With an increase in problem lots and a decrease in staff to maintain them, the cities rely on young workers eager to gain job experience during their time off from high school and college.

“Our public works department is bare bones,” Clairton Mayor Rich Lattanzi said. “They prioritize on snow removal, grass-cutting of city-owned properties and potholes throughout the year. Summer help gives an opportunity for some of our youth to make a few dollars and supplement what public works is doing.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourmckeesport/yourmckeesportmore/6537806-74/summer-workers-public#ixzz399pCVoJu
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Playing With Philadelphia’s Tax Money

Editor’s note:  Here’s another reason they call Pottstown “little Philadelphia“.   Just change out Philadelphia with Pottstown.  Same problems, just a smaller scale but equally as devastating to the residents of both communities.

Philadelphia’s decades-long neglect of property-tax collections has been a disaster for public schools, the city budget, and typical taxpaying homeowners.

But the system does have its advantages for low-rent landlords, out-of-town speculators, and anyone else interested in playing property Powerball, a game where the objective is to pile up real estate in hope of hitting a gentrification jackpot, while keeping out-of-pocket expenses – like taxes – as low as possible.

Some are big winners, such as the investor who picked up three adjacent Northern Liberties lots in 1994 for a combined $16,000, skipped paying taxes on the lots for more than a decade, and made good on the debt only after flipping the parcels for $750,000 in 2010.

Such speculative windfalls are rare, but it’s not for lack of trying.  Of the roughly 100,000 tax-delinquent properties in Philadelphia, at least 57,500 are owned by investors, not occupants. These are parcels deeded to suburbanites and Floridians, developers and Brooklyn-based holding companies, small-time local speculators and real estate tycoons with dozens of properties to their name.

Read more:

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/city/20130311_Playing_with_the_city_s_tax_money.html

Johnstown Battles Blight

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cambria County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Cambria County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JOHNSTOWN, PA — What was once The Rib Rack restaurant is now an eyesore and a hazard.

The building, located at 405 Strayer St. in Johnstown’s West End, is in a state of decay, with crumbling bricks, broken rain spout, boarded windows and weeds.

Soon, though, the building will be razed.

Its demolition is part of an ongoing effort by City Council and the Community and Economic Development Department to remove blight from the town.

Since the fall of last year, 66 structures have been razed.  The Rib Rack is next on the list.  Work has started in the past few days.

Read more:  http://tribune-democrat.com/local/x1951926811/City-battles-blight

A Petition To Control Blight In Pottstown

If you are interested in building a better Pottstown, please click on the link below and sign the petition to control blight!  The petition will go to the following people:

  • Governmental persons that can control blight in Pottstown, PA! (Pottstown Judges and Pottstown Codes Dept.)
  • PA State House (Rep. Tom Quigley)
  • PA State Senate (Senator John Rafferty)
  • Agency responsible for subsidized housing violations (Montgomery County Housing Authority)

http://www.change.org/petitions/governmental-persons-that-can-control-blight-in-pottstown-pa-prosecute-slumlords-within-the-pottstown-borough-using-pa-state-law-act-90?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=own_wall

York’s Olde Towne East Neighborhood Transformed

Olde Towne East was a down and out neighborhood in York.  Blight, crime, vacant buildings and low property values.  Read this article about how Olde Towne East rose like a phoenix from the ashes and now their neighborhood is a source of pride in York!

http://www.newpa.com/strengthen-your-community/success-stories/million-dollar-makeover/index.aspx