City of Erie Battling Blight
The City of Erie is finally seeing results in its efforts to eliminate blighted and abandoned properties.
There are 127 structures in the city that have been listed as officially blighted by the Erie Redevelopment Authority. That number can now be whittled down year by year.
Last November, the authority's land bank received $414,000 from the Erie County Land Bank. The money comes from a new $1 million a year allocation to Erie County from state gaming funds targeted to fight the problem of blight.
The authority took 19 run-down structures from its blight list that it immediately wanted to acquire and then demolish. So far, 12 of the 19 structures have been demolished. Five will be torn down by the end of November, and two will be sold for rehab.
An eyesore at 1135 East 11th Street may be demolished as soon as Tuesday.. Justin Smith lives across the street. For years, he's had to look at the boarded up doors and windows, the debris, and the overgrowth of weeds.
"It's probably a good idea. There's a lot of junk around there. A lot of people throwing sharp metal everywhere. The house looks like it is caving in. So, it's probably a good idea,” Smith said.
Once a house is knocked down, the Redevelopment Authority tries to sell the vacant lot. A neighbor is usually given the first opportunity to buy.
The authority is already working on getting money for another round of demolitions next year.