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BEAVER FALLS (KDKA) – A team of 11 engineers will use heavy machinery to knock down blighted properties in Beaver Falls this week as part of an initiative to revitalize the area.

“This week we’ll do four total,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Gendall. “It’s a good idea and it helps prevent drug use.”

The Pennsylvania National Guard arrived in the city on Monday for a week-long demolition effort.

beaver falls blight National Guard Tearing Down Blighted Properties In Beaver Falls

(Photo Credit: Meghan Schiller/KDKA)

City Manager Charlie Jones said he reached out to the National Guard after learning of a similar initiative while watching television in Ohio.

“Everyone really is excited about the fact that they’re getting blighted properties taken down next to them because it increases the property values of their homes,” said Jones. “I thought it’d be kind of an interesting thing to do to bring back here to Beaver Falls and so I started some research and got in touch with the National Guard.”

The funding comes from the National Guard and Beaver Falls will pay for the removal of the debris.

“We do this on an on-call basis so if we have the funding and someone gives us a call then we can do it for them,” said Staff Sgt. Gendall.

Five dilapidated homes will be demolished, including some along 12th and West avenues.

“We got over 100, at least 200 or 300 here in Beaver Falls,” said Jones. “We’ve been working on the problem ourselves. We’ve torn down like 10 or 11 in the last two or three years.”

Jones said the abandoned homes attract “negative activity.”

“That’s why it’s a priority for us to get these properties down and plus it helps to revitalize that area and hopefully we can bring in someone who wants to build on that site,” Jones said.