NORTH BRADDOCK, Pa. (KDKA) — Neighbors in the Mon Valley are tired of seeing dilapidated housing in their neighborhoods.
They want someone to either care for the property or tear it down.READ MORE: Fall Foliage Report: Cooler Temperatures Bring In The Best Colors
For Dennis Evans in North Braddock, the house behind him is a mess.
“You want people to move into the neighborhood, yet you let the neighborhood run down,” Evans said.
He said the home behind his house has been abandoned for about 15 years. Next door, it’s the same problem.
“I put a fence that cost me $6,000 so I don’t have to look at it,” Evans said.
It’s a problem across the Mon Valley, including North Braddock. When the industry left, so did many people. Currently, there are more than 400 abandoned homes in the one-and-a-half square mile community.
“Borough officials and the borough manager aren’t trying to raise taxes cause they don’t want to chase people away,” North Braddock Mayor Al Senic said.
In addition to people moving away, Mayor Senic said many homes become abandoned because as people die, there’s no one to take care of the property. He said it happens about 15 times a year.READ MORE: Lane Restriction On Northbound I-279 Lanes After Reported Vehicle Fire, Multi-Vehicle Crash
“They come down to the tax office, ‘Will you take the property over? My mother passed away. I live out of state.’ It’s just an ongoing issue,” Mayor Senic said.
The mayor said officials also run into other problems like tracking down derelict homeowners or getting others to invest in renovation projects.
“You need the younger clientele to come in and buy the homes,” Mayor Senic said.
Demolishing a house costs about $10,000. Through grants, communities are able to take down four a year.
“We try to put in for more money every year, but we never get it,” Senic said.
Evans wants to borrow to do more but admits homeowners also need to take pride in what they have.
“We can’t depend on the borough to go around and clean everything up. Everybody needs to own a broom when they buy a house,” Evans said.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Mayoral Candidates Ed Gainey, Tony Moreno Take Debate Stage On KDKA
There are some homes here that aren’t as old as some of the run-down ones. Some of those have been selling recently. Leaders hope they can spread to other parts of the borough.