GIRARDVILLE -- On the 100 block of West Ogden Street in Girardville in Schuylkill County stands a crumbling property.
One neighbor told Newswatch 16 he has lived next door for 56 years and says it has been abandoned for decades."I waited for this a long time," he said as he showed us the back of the property, which he claims is worse than the front.
"I waited for this a long time," he said as he showed us the back of the property, which he claims is worse than the front.
On Wednesday, officials announced a $1.4 million state grant that will go towards a demolition project, not just in Girardville, but in all of Schuylkill County.
"When you have a building in a neighborhood that is just deteriorating, it just takes things down. What we're trying to do is empower the community to be able to get these properties, get them down, get their neighborhoods even better because we know this is a good place to live and work," Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage said.
The property on West Ogden Street will be one of the first to go. Officials say it is an eyesore for a main street in Girardville, and neighbors have expressed concern about it for quite some time now.
"By not going after these owners aggressively, we've allowed this to happen in our community. Over the last six to eight months or so, we've gotten more aggressive with code enforcement and it's led to results like this," said Girardville Mayor Joe Catizone.
Even though officials have been working together to strengthen laws against blight, for many properties like the one in Girardville, that's just not enough.
"At the end of the day, sometimes a building can't be rehabilitated, it has to be demolished. That takes money. That's why we worked so hard to obtain the $1.4 million," said Senator David G. Argall.
Officials say properties like these hurt schools in the area and breed crime, which is why a grant this big will go a long way.
"This is a perfect example of a building that can be razored at very little expense to the people. It's already been abandoned. It's been on the list for a long time. So what we're looking to do, we're looking to bundle as many properties as we can to make that $1.4 million stretch as far as it can," said Representative Neal Goodman.
Officials say they hope to demolish between 40 and 60 structures by the end of the grant. They say they need the community's help in coming up with a list of properties that are in need.