Local Officials Celebrate “Blight” Bill, As Approved By Senate Committee

HARRISBURG – Bipartisan legislation designed to help local communities fight blight and repair or demolish abandoned properties has been approved by the Senate Urban Affairs and Housing Committee, according to State Senator David G. Argall (R-29), the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 900.

Senate Bill 900, the proposed “Neighborhood Blight Reclamation and Revitalization Act,” would improve the process of prosecuting owners of blighted properties. The bill would clarify the identity of property owners and hold them responsible for the municipal costs to secure, remediate or demolish blighted structures.

At a Monday morning press conference held in Port Carbon, Argall was joined by local officials to hail the bill’s passage. “Blighted properties present an imminent danger to many, including children, who see an abandoned building as an exciting opportunity for exploration, not knowing that a serious injury or tragedy could be just a step away. I know because I was a young Port Carbon kid who loved to explore abandoned buildings. And, unfortunately, I had plenty of opportunities. I am pleased my new Senate colleagues joined me in supporting this important legislation,” Argall added.

The legislation is based on the findings and recommendations of the Blight Task Force, a statewide coalition of housing and municipal organizations dedicated to tackling the problems of blighted and abandoned buildings across Pennsylvania.

“Blight is one of those barriers that is holding our communities back,” said Joanne Parulis, Executive Director of Schuylkill County’s VISION. “We thank Senator Argall and the Statewide Blight Task Force for introducing this legislation.”

“My primary goal for 2009 is to see this legislation pass the full Senate and the House and be signed into law,” Argall said. “This was the dream of Senator Rhoades when he first introduced this legislation last session, as well as the goal of the Blight Task Force which he created. I am proud to now chair that same task force, and I want to thank its members for many hours of hard work to create this legislation,” he added.

Contact: Nick Troutman
(717) 787-2637

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