Blighted Properties; Will the City of Erie, At Least, Mow the Grass?
Some citizens are living near vacant and abandoned houses with overgrown grass and weeds. They've contacted Erie News Now asking why the City of Erie is not stepping in to help.
One house, on the 900 block of East Ninth Street, has been vacant for at least ten years. Amos Dean has lived on that street for two of those years and walks by the overgrown grass and weeds every day.
"That's like going into a jungle,” he said. “Pretty much since I've been here, ain't nothing been done to it."
Erie News Now went to Mayor Schember's weekly news conference to ask him if anything can be done.
"We're certainly happy to do anything we can within our capabilities,” Schember responded.
The mayor then asked Code Enforcement Director Andy Zimmerman to the podium. Zimmerman said citizens can call his office, report the high grass and weeds, and the Parks Department will respond with their mower.
"As you know we're pretty well short-staffed at the Parks Department. So it does take 3 or 4 weeks before they do get out. But we do have in place the ability to mow,” he said.
The city has been making blighted properties a top priority. The Erie Land Bank is buying blighted properties and tearing them down, but there's not enough funding to demolish them all at once.