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Sustainability News

Brian O’Neill: Taking blight into your own hands

This new state law provided the mechanism for what she describes “as a surgical strike on blight.” There’s remaining paperwork, but the house on Juniata now belongs to Ms. Rosensteel and her husband. They’ve done all they’ve needed to do under the Blighted and Abandoned Property Conservatorship law, which has meant everything from hundreds of sloppy hours of grunt work to paying about $7,000 in back taxes to borrowing against their own home to pay contractors and legal fees.

About 45 appointed conservators in Allegheny County are working through this new process, but this is the first property acquisition that has been brought to completion, the couple’s attorney believes.

. . . Countless residents of older neighborhoods, in and out of the city, have to hope this small victory against blight can be replicated many times over. Innumerable long-abandoned buildings in Allegheny County and beyond haven’t a savior in sight because the legal brambles around such places are so daunting.

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