HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Since 2000, the City of Harrisburg has demolished 1,000 properties. This year, they’ll tackle 50 of the worst, up from only 30 last year.
Codes Administrator Dave Patton, who comes up with the list, says the buildings coming down are the most hazardous, and the owners are nowhere to be found.
“It’s a difficult time keeping up with the abandonment of properties because they’re either deceased, indigent, LLC’s that don’t exist or they’re out of state, some out of the country,” Patton said.
One of the properties was once home to Edward Biddleman. He was Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor from 1919 to 1923.
“It’s one of the grander houses on Market Street. It was built in 1906, the same year the Capitol was built,” said David Morrison, the executive director of Historic Harrisburg Association.
Morrison hopes someone will step in to save the home, but Patton says it would cost a million dollars to renovate it. Once it comes down, Patton hopes a neighbor will “adopt” it.
“Plant grass, plant flowers, any kind of activity on that property will keep people from parking on it, or high grass, weeds and illegal dumping,” he said.
Once homes are demolished, the city says people can buy the vacant lot for a minimal fee of $500. They can then build on it, and even turn it into a small park.