EAST CONEMAUGH, Pa. – East Conemaugh Borough Council plans to hold a workshop to address blight in the municipality before its regularly scheduled September meeting.
No date has been selected yet.
Different tools are available, such as information provided by the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania. The Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act provides a wide array of tools, including the ability to place liens against the personal assets of property owners.
“I want to outline things first,” Solicitor Alex Svirsko Jr. said following this month’s meeting on Wednesday. “They need to know what their options are in this.”
Svirsko said that acquiring money to deal with blight is a challenge.
“It would be nice if the borough code would be amended and they would be allowed to charge a percentage of their mills just for blight, instead of putting it aside themselves, where we’re going to charge everyone in the borough, in the municipality, X amount for blight removal,” Svirsko said. “In a borough this small, it would be nice. It’s easy to manage.”
He said such a levy would create “a war chest to fight blight.”
Svirsko unofficially counted about two dozen properties that were blighted or had code violations in the borough a few years ago. He is unaware of how many exist now.
But, for example, there are multiple blighted properties on the 300 block of Greeve Street that are sectioned off with orange cones and police tape, including the former Vic’s Blueroom, which was recently condemned.
At one property on the block, a former hair care business, two signs in windows read: “Closed due to surrounding safety issues” and “What defines us is how well we rise after falling.”
Svirsko said that building is “still a viable piece of property.”