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Small Boroughs Struggling to Take Down Blighted Properties

MARION HEIGHTS, Pa. -- Some small municipalities in Northumberland County are running into financial problems when it comes to taking down dilapidated buildings.

Marion Heights is a small borough near Kulpmont with a population of just several hundred people. One building that was of concern to the borough recently collapsed.

Residents say it should've been torn down years ago, but because of financial reasons, the borough says the process to do that is easier said than done.

Caution tape blocks off East North Street and Brunswick Street in Marion Heights after the owner says a property collapsed last week following a windstorm.

The building was vacant and nobody was hurt, but dilapidated buildings have become an eyesore in some parts of Northumberland County.

For small municipalities like this one, dealing with faulty buildings is much more complex than many would expect.

"If I condemn it and we tear it down, they get to keep the property, the lot, so we're doing them a favor by tearing it down and we can't afford it. None of these small municipalities can afford it," said borough employee Charles Staskiel.

Newswatch 16 spoke with the owner of the property. He tells us that last year, he had the roof taken off in hopes that the building could be saved but after the most recent damage, he plans on demolishing the property later this week.

Neighbors say they were mildly concerned about the former apartment building.

"When I'd see it, I'd have at least a five or six, my level of concern was there," said Nancy Litwin.

"We have a couple more like that, too, in the borough, but that was a pretty bad one," said Larry Stump.

Another neighbor says many young students would walk past the building on the way to the bus stop. He hopes that now they're out of danger.

"It is sort of like a hazard for them. I'm just hoping he gets it down before someone gets hurt," said Staskiel.

The borough says there are a few more dilapidated buildings in the area that it's checking on.

2 comments

  • rjelq

    This area is pretty solid. if you like overrated cheesesammys and bean soup, trashed rowhomes, overrated high school football and shop downtown for long grey socks. Great roads and weather here as well good for having big big car repair bills.

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