Improving City, One Blighted Property at a Time

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SUNBURY -- The question for years in Sunbury was: who is going to do something about the run-down properties?

Now, folks who live in that city have their answer as well as the first new home on its way in a decade.

Demolition crews moved in and started by knocking down the garage. The home at 220 Washington Avenue in Sunbury would be next.

Neighbors stood a safe distance away, coffee mugs in hand, to witness the end of the line for the run-down house.

"The blighted properties, we have quite a few of them. This is one main one, this has been going on for 10 years with this one," said neighbor Robert Miller.

Miller remembers what a nice place the home on the corner used to be. The home was neglected for years, according to codes officials.

Now it has been torn down with government grant money and a private donation will help build a new one. It is the first stage of the Sunbury Redevelopment Authority's plan to transform properties like this.

"Starting with this project here, we are taking down a blighted structure and making way for a new home we can sell to somebody in the general public and hopefully improve this neighborhood," said Adam Purdy, chairman of the authority.

The house on Washington Avenue is just the beginning. Once the home is replaced with a new home and there are buyers, then the money from the purchase will go towards doing the same thing to another blighted property in the city, then another, then another.

"Within next two weeks we'll have the modular crews in here to set the foundation, get the home ready, and hoping by the middle of November we'll have a house that's ready for sale," added Purdy.

As big chunks of the Washington Avenue home came down, neighbors said it feels like the beginning of a better Sunbury.

Not only that, but the new home will be the first built within the city in a decade.

"It definitely has to go now, you see what it looks like now. Just the start of what's going to be going on in this city, great thing," said neighbor Gene Swanger.