413 Lydia Street

For some time, people have been asking me when that “run down” building across the street from the shul would be torn down.  Happily, I can say “today”.

Blighted property is a problem in many older neighborhoods.  As we all know, it costs a lot to maintain an old home.  And if the home is in poor condition or in a bad location (like on a high traffic street) it may not be worth the money to fix.  The problem is that it also takes money to tear it down.  Often, the owner will walk away from such a property and dump it into the lap of the local municipality.  This is why it takes so long to get a property torn down.  Legal processing and acquiring funds can take several years.  And the fact of the matter is, the borough would rather not tear down the buildings at all.  If they could be renovated, they could provide a reasonably priced home for a not-so-wealthy family.  And the property would continue to produce real estate tax revenue that helps support borough operations.

A new law was enacted in Harrisburg last October that we believe will help.  It will allow the borough to take control of empty properties, pay to have them renovated, sell them, and then give any net proceeds to the former property owners.  It sounds like an extreme step to take, but right now our only option is to raze the properties.  Getting them repaired and occupied is certainly a better solution.

Fortunately, this was not the case with 413 Lydia.  The owner was cited by our code enforcement officer for not maintaining his building and he finally decided to tear it down.  I expect that in the spring it will be covered with asphalt.  I’ll keep you posted, as always.

click on the pictures for larger view

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