Neighbors Want Action After Raccoons Invade Blighted House in Erie
A family of raccoons has moved into a vacant, blighted house on Erie's east side and neighbors are calling on the city to tear the house down. However, there's a long list of other properties that also need attention.
The house at the intersection of Dunn Boulevard and East 5th Street has been vacant and blighted for at least five years. The first floor windows are boarded up. The second floor windows have been smashed out. Since no humans apparently want to live there, a family of raccoons decided they would move in.
"Yeah, that's really true,” says neighbor Justin White. “There's a giant hole on the top of the roof that all the raccoons get in on. There's about five of six of them. At night they'll pop their head out the window and just watch the neighborhood."
The raccoons may be cute to watch until they make a mess by tearing into garbage bags left at the curb. Fred Lane, another neighbor, is hoping the city will finally take action now that the masked mammals have moved onto the block.
"You can see the windows are broken out. We've seen people going in and out of the house. It's an eyesore and it needs to go,” says Lane.
The house is on a list of the 125 most blighted structures in the city. But to get to the top of the demolition list, the owner either has to disappear or die. Scott Henry, Executive Director of the Erie Redevelopment Authority explains.
"So we tend to attack those ones first because we know there's no hope there. There's no other way to get those back in the private sector market,” he said.
The owner of the home on Dunn Boulevard is still paying taxes on the property. The Redevelopment Authority acquired and demolished about 40 dilapidated structures this past year. There's only so much money to do the work, so the neighbors on that street may have to wait awhile.