From Blight to Bright in Hazleton

haz buildings

HAZLETON — Blighted properties have been a problem within Hazleton for years, but a map circulating online shows there are 84 condemned, vacant properties just sitting there waiting to be dealt with.

City leaders say they’re too cash-strapped to fix it all at once.

With cracked windows, dangling wires, and broken siding, it’s not hard to find this blight in the city of Hazleton, where a new interactive map circulating online shows more than 80 buildings sit condemned.

The map and accompanying data were compiled by The Hazleton Standard Speaker and are linked to this article.

“These homes are gorgeous, gorgeous homes. To be left to go like this, it’s a sin.”

But that’s what’s happening. Neighbors on North Wyoming Street believe they know what’s causing the problem.

“It’s a disaster. Some of them are out-of-town landlords who have not kept up with things the way they should have,” said Joseph McGarry of Hazleton.

City leaders have begun charging these landlords, forcing them to pay fines.

“It really is a magnet for crime and the more it deteriorates, the worse the neighborhood is,” said Hazleton Mayor Joe Yannuzzi.

The city is currently negotiating fines with the owner of a torn down house on McKinley Street.

Mayor Yannuzzi says the city will do the same thing for other properties, but will have to go one building at a time.

“If the city had the money, we definitely would go after all these properties, tear what we could down, restart, but we don’t have any money at all,” said Mayor Yannuzzi.

Mayor Yannuzzi says Hazleton has only one codes officer and one health inspector and can’t afford to hire any more.

Neighbors say they understand, but something needs to be done.

“Now they are so dilapidated, weeds that are taller than some people, no pride anymore,” said Diana Jessel of Hazleton.

The mayor says he’s found other cities that have started a non-profit group called “From Blight to Bright.” He hopes to eventually start a non-profit like that in Hazleton so money could be raised specifically to clean up these condemned properties.

3 comments

  • ME

    Something should be done about absentee landlords. All they see is money, money, money. Well, with property comes responsibility, so grow up and stop acting like the world is your gravy train. It isn’t and there are real people who call neighborhoods their homes. Point two, keep renting to illegals who also don’t seem to care about their neighborhoods or want to become Americans. This country isn’t here for what you can get for yourself.
    I thought they were so hard-working and in need of a better life, like we’re constantly being told. Well, situations like this prove otherwise.

  • Me

    The city leaders have it ALL wrong ! They welcomed illegals who don’t pay taxes. That’s why hazleton has no money. They keep nailing John Q Taxpayer to pay for all the services these “immigrants” receive. They live like slums and don’t care what their homes or properties look like. All the stores in downtown are fronts for dealing heroin.

    You have a huge city and ONE code enforcement officer ??? Where has he been the last 15 years ???? Robberies and hold ups in broad daylight. Shootings, kidnappings, prostitution. It’s all right here in hazleton. It’s a ghetto of ghettos

    Excuses , excuses, excuses.

    They should condemn the entire city. It’s an eyesore and an absolute shame

Talkback 16 Online Discussion:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 27,672 other followers