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Fighting the Blight in Northumberland County

SHAMOKIN — Several communities in Northumberland County are cracking down on blight thanks in part to $500,000 in state grant money.

Take a walk down Bear Valley Avenue in Shamokin and you’ll see several rundown buildings. It’s something that upsets Louise Gotaskie and other neighbors.

“I take pride in my house. I like to keep it clean,” Gotaskie said.

“They don’t try anymore. It’s young people moving in. They just don’t seem to care,” Ron Geist said.

Shamokin is cracking down on blighted properties on Bear Valley Avenue and other locations in the city. Shamokin received more than $110,000 in state grant money to either tear down or repair seven problem properties.

In addition to the buildings in Shamokin, the grant money was also awarded to four other municipalities in Northumberland County including nearby Coal Township where officials plan to revitalize or tear down around a dozen properties.

“The public safety issues, the squatting issues, thefts. That’s pretty much why we’re trying to fight blight,” Shamokin Code Enforcement Officer Rick Bozza said.

Officials said some of the properties will be fixed up and they could potentially be sold. The ones that will be torn down may be turned into green space or other houses could be built there. This makes many people who live in Shamokin happy.

“I think it’s a fabulous idea that they’re going to tear them down,” Gotaskie said.

“Well it’s a start, anyhow. It’s better than leaving it go. It just seems to be getting worse all the time and there’s nobody to fix them up,” Geist said.

Work on the blighted properties in Shamokin and other Northumberland County communities could start as early as March. Demolition or repairs must be finished in 15 months before the state grant money runs out.

1 Comment

  • Kelly Ashland

    its a bunch of bull the guy saying its the younger people not fixing up there property but if he new any thing about any thing he would know that more then 75% of the homes were let go to pot by older people. i have 3 buildings next to me all 3 were let go by there elderly owners and 2 have been sold after sitting vacant for years the younger owner for one is fixing her home up but the elderly owner of the other is letting his get worse and not paying his taxes the house is sinking in the back theres no heat and barely any water and said its a roof over his head and he will stay until the tax man kicks him out

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