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Westmoreland County Taking Inventory Of Blighted Buildings

GREENSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) - Leaders in Westmoreland County say they're putting together a plan to locate and identify blighted buildings in Greensburg, with a recent donation from a group of realtors helping fund the effort.

In Westmoreland County, you can find many wonderful historic structures, but also a lot of blight.

"Blight is an issue in nearly all of our communities in Westmoreland County," said Daniel Carpenter, the Westmoreland County Department of Planning and Development director.

Greensburg's streets already have homes marked with giant Xs. Blighted buildings marked with a red X tell first responders to stay out unless they know someone needs rescued inside.

greensburg blight
(Photo Credit: KDKA)

But what about other buildings? The county has come up with the money, an app and a plan to find them.

"We can go out and parcel-by-parcel, examine the city and the condition of properties and structures and grade them basically to identify those areas of blight," said Carpenter.

And a local realtors association will pay $10,000 for what's essentially an inventory of blighted buildings.

"In most cases, it's that gut reaction," said Carpenter. "We're talking cracked block, cracked brick, wood is rotting. There's visible holes in the structure, the roof is collapsing in. There's broken or missing or boarded up windows -- things of that nature. If there's vegetation completely overgrown, litter, that would warrant a grade of blight."

Monessen, once home of a blighted building that burned and was held together with straps, is already using a system to find blighted homes.

Finding a blighted building and paying to have it taken down are two different things, the second being a lot more difficult. But the county says given the scale of the problem, it's a start.

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