WILKES-BARRE -- For the past few weeks, code and health inspectors have been knocking on doors around Wilkes-Barre and handing out tickets to people with blighted properties.
In the Rolling Mill Hill section, people said they have already started to see a change because of the Taking it to the Streets operation.
“From what I’m hearing, people are paying attention because they know they’re coming and they are trying to take care of their properties before they get ticketed,” President of the Rolling Mill Hill Residents’ Association Linda Joseph said.
People are being ticketed anywhere from $50 to $500 for overgrown lawns, abandoned cars, and indoor furniture on the front porch. Most fines were in the $100 range.
“We’ve issued 115 quality of life tickets so far, 66 the first week and 49 the second week. We saw a bit of a drop off in the second week and we think that could be due to the fact that people are getting it,” city administrator Ted Wampole said.
In the weeks city officials have been giving out fines, 50 people have already paid their tickets. Keeping in mind some may be waiting for a citation so they can fight it in court.
“We didn't implement this program to raise revenue for the city. We implemented it because people were always talking about the problem they have with blight in their neighborhoods,” Wampole said.
In the coming weeks, city officials will be making their way towards Wilkes University. Representatives hope the initiative will bring more business to the city.
“Other investors and developers see that there’s progress being made and they come in and have more confidence in making additional investments,” Special Assistant to the Wilkes University President Michael Wood said.
People in the Rolling Mill Hill section agree.
“If the area is cleaner, if there are issues that are being taken care of more, sure there is definitely a possibility that more businesses will want to come in. Of course, that’s only good for the city,” Joseph said.
Code and health officials tell us they will be checking every neighborhood in Wilkes-Barre until each area is covered.