Considering the City: Fight Blight!
Broken windows, missing doors, sagging porches, peeling paint, collapsing garages, and caved-in roofs attract crime, discourage investment, and lower property values. Not surprisingly, a 2001 study by researchers at Temple University revealed that blighted properties devalue nearby properties; great homes located “within 150 feet of an abandoned unit” almost always suffer exponentially-reduced sales prices. A 2015 study for the City of Erie’s Comprehensive Plan by CZB identified 4,500 blighted properties in the city. According to Mike Baker of the Erie County Department of Planning, there are 48,517 structures in the city of Erie, including garages, sheds, etc. This means almost 10 percent of structures in Erie are blighted. Inevitably, some will be demolished. But many can be saved if we are willing to take action as a community. To fight blight we must: initiate focused code enforcement, pass new ordinances to support code enforcement, and embrace creative homesteading options.