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Neighbors upset over dilapidated home in Kernville


It's a problem that's plagued the city of Johnstown and been a constant in 6 News newscasts for years: Rundown homes and blighted properties causing problems for those who live nearby.

On Wednesday the city's code department told 6 News there have been 62 city properties demolished since 2011. Despite the looks of one dilapidated property causing concern in the Kernville neighborhood, officials said it's not the worst on their growing list.

But for the people who live nearby, it's a huge problem they said they're forced to deal with every day and they want answers.

"It used to be the nicest house on the street and then he just started living like this after the last three years," said one neighbor who wanted to remain anonymous. He lived in this house (in those conditions.)"

Neighbors along Yoder Street in Kernville said they've been battling with the city for over a year to get a dilapidated home torn down.

"You cannot sit outside and have a normal conversation especially in the heat without getting the smell of mold and all this other crap," said Denise Bowers who also lives nearby. "Would you like to live and look at this?"

The home was condemned by the city nearly two years ago and the owner was evicted, but the hazards and mess left behind are still visible and neighbors said they've been left to deal with it.

"It smells all the time. This is a nice day. You 'ought to see when the wind blows over this way. I have to shut all my doors," said another neighbor.

It's not the only rundown building in the area, there's another just across the street, owned by the same man. But he told 6 News it's not his fault.

"If I was still living there it wouldn't look like that," said Jeff Crowder. "I have been out of there two years. It looked bad but not as bad as it does now. I haven't been able to cut grass and whatnot."

Crowder said he wants to fix up his properties but says he's fallen on hard times and just doesn't have the money or the help.

"When (is he going to fix is up,)" said Bowers. "He lived like this. This is the way he lived. He left living this way. This is the way he left."

When asked if the property is one Crowder would want to live next to he said no, but offered this reasoning:

"I would want the city to give the home improvement grant loan for low income people to the people who need it and I would want the city to make sure that that person got that grant so they could fix it up," said Crowder.

The city said it has hundreds of vacant properties, 1,600 to be exact, many of which are worse than Crowders.

The city said it just doesn't have the money to tear all the blighted properties down. So for now, Crowders home will sit until he finds the money to fix it up or the city gets the go-ahead for demolition. But that's a process that could take several years.

 

 
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times

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