For Erie residents who live around West 5th and Plum streets, a dilapidated property was more than an eyesore.
“Some busted windows. It looked to be pretty condemned. Some people was coming in and out. So, just happy to see something to be done with it,” said Jeremiah Jones, a father of four, who has lived next door for less than a year.
Contractors began demolition on Monday. By Thursday, the only remnants of the building at 420 Plum St. were equipment and a large pit, which crews still had to fill with dirt.
Another neighbor, Tyler Silbaugh, said, “Now that it’s gone, that’s definitely a big relief.”
The property was acquired by eminent domain in October, according to Scott Henry, executive director of the Erie Redevelopment Authority.
He said OurWestBayfront indicated that demolition of the property was a priority, and “Code Enforcement felt strongly that they were at risk of posing a danger to the neighborhood.”
Some residents agreed about similar blighted properties.
“Because plenty of kid walk by for school. I’m sure one of those boards fall off or a window falls out or something, you get hurt,” said Erie resident Norbert Buziewicz about a vacant property at 725 W 4th St.
While visiting friends at a resident on the street, he said, “I think it’s good. I mean the houses look like that and they’re not going to fix them up. Then, get rid of them.”
City officials plan to get rid of that building within the next week, but what happens when they are gone?
“We’ll have conversations with the adjoining property owners,” said Henry. “See if anyone is interested in using it as a side yard. Certainly, we’ll talk to some of the active neighborhood groups.”
That is the hope of Jones. He said it would nice for his children to have yard space to play.
“Once some grass is in there, they’ll have a backyard, now. So, they’re happy about that,” he said.
The property on Plum Street cost $13,200 to demolish, and the cost for the West 4th Street project is around $7,500, according to Henry.
He said a 2016 Keystone Communities grant is being used for the work.