GIRARDVILLE, Pa. -- A new housing development is set to open this weekend in Schuylkill County. The new townhomes in Girardville replace homes that were destroyed by fire.
Seven years ago, a fire on West Main Street in Girardville destroyed several row homes. No one was hurt, but people who live near where the fire happened still remember it.
"It was pretty bad," Alan Foster of Girardville said. "We were standing here on our porch. We could feel the heat on our face."
It wasn't long after the fire that a plan to rebuild began.
"(There was) kind of a fight in the beginning to get the buildings torn down, then we ended up with basically an empty lot," Girardville borough council president Robert Krick said.
A nonprofit called Schuylkill Community Action stepped in. The organization uses state and local funding to build homes in the county. In Girardvile, the organization spent more than $1 million to build six new townhouse apartments in the spot where the fire happened.
"We're very pleased to come to fruition and be able to offer opportunities to lower-income people," Schuylkill Community Action director of housing Jeffrey Feeser said.
The homes opening this weekend aren't the first group of houses Schuylkill Community Action has built in Girardville. They've built about a dozen in the community.
"We're fortunate to have gotten them back in to do a project here and take care of what would've been a blighted lot basically," Krick said.
Schuylkill Community Action has already rented out three of the six apartments. Its members said looking at the finished product is what it's all about.
"(We love) removing the blight in the county and providing opportunities for low-income people as a result of that," Feeser said.
The people of Girardville are happy to see brand new homes on Main Street.
"I think they did a beautiful job, too," Foster said. "I told the guys they did. They look great."
If you're interested in renting one of these new places, contact Schuylkill Community Action at 570-622-1995.