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Neighbors are fed up after several blighted homes collapsed in Harrisburg

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Dozens of people in Harrisburg say they’re fed up after several blighted properties partially collapsed after a round of storms earlier Thursday afternoon.

“Hopefully they could stabilize that house to where it doesn’t affect the rest of the row houses,” Belinda Hall said.

One of the units in a block of row homes she lives in on 13th street partially caved in on Thursday. She says the home has been abandoned for years and she’s concerned it will ultimately compromise the integrity of the entire building.

“You can not even get insurance for these properties”, Russel Blust said.

Blust has been investing in properties in Harrisburg for more than three decades. He says the exorbitant number of blighted properties in the city diminishes property values, discourages people from raising a family or starting a business in town, and ultimately decreased the amount of tax payer money needed to sustain a healthy economy in the city.

“If those properties are not cleaned up or torn down, you’re not going to get investors to come in”, he added.

“It took us over 15 years to be able to get home insurance again; and so you can see why people are complaining,” Annette Torres said as she pointed to a burned out building she lives next to.

She says the building next to her 13th Street home caught fire more than 15 years ago

Torres says her and her husband have been petitioning the city for years to demolish it; she says it’s become a hazard to her and her neighbors.

“When you live beside it, like we’ve been living beside it, we didn’t know if they would start a fire or do something in the ally during the night. When you own a home you pay real estate tax, school, real estate tax, really three taxes a year. We pay 16 hundred dollars to live next door to junk,” Torres added.

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