A friend made on the campaign trail inspires Erie Democratic Mayoral Candidate Joe Schember about one way Erie can begin fighting blight.
This new inspiration comes from a local resident, Mike, who was simply sick of paying rent. He stumbled on a unique opportunity and took advantage of it. Overgrown vines, swallowing the facade of a property on West 4th Street. What used to be a home… completely gutted, and windows boarded. Severely damaged in a fire more than a decade ago, a shell of a house, beyond repair.
“It was… awful. Just think of the most terrible looking house and that would be it,” Mike tells us. “It was a dump.” Erie Native Mike Clements bought that “awful, terrible” looking “dump” for a price you wouldn’t believe. “The price was right, I only paid $250 bucks for it.”
Clements’ efforts have inspired Erie Democratic Mayoral Candidate Joe Schember, who knocked on Clements’ new front door while campaigning. Schember tells us, “If we can get people to see the opportunity at a very low cost, to come into these neighborhoods, create a great place to live, and a better neighborhood… that’s great news for Erie.”
Schember believes millennials taking on similar unique opportunities is one way Erie can begin fighting blight. “There were many, many blighted homes on this block and this block is being changed by people like Mike.”
After eight months of renovations, Clement moved his wife and two little boys into the house, which they now call home. “It’s a long-term investment,” Mike tells us, “we’re going to live here for a while.” Now that renovations on his home are well underway, Clement decided to invest in another blighted property… the home just two doors down. He plans on turning it into a two-unit home, which he will eventually rent out.
Mike’s idea behind this is to “Save a lot of money… and get a little financial freedom.”
Schember also saying if elected, he plans to fix as many blighted properties as possible, rather than tearing them down. He says tearing them down reduces the tax base and puts a financial burden on other homeowners.