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Schenectady Mayor wants to Bulldoze Bad Homes
Schenectady – Battling blight in the Capital Region. Instead of just knocking down one bad house at a time, The mayor of Schenectady is trying to bulldoze dozens of them at once.
Schenectady Mayor, Gary McCarthy is asking the city council to approve a $3 million loan that would be used to knock down more than 100 dilapidated homes. 40 of the homes are so dangerous, code inspectors won’t go inside and say they could partially collapse at any time.
Earnest Burnett has lived on Hilderbrandt Avenue in Schenectady for 36 years and two of the most dangerous homes have been on his block. “If you look, there is a tree growing up out of one of them.. that's how long it's been since anyone lived or cared about that house, a blind man could see that needed to come down a long time ago,” Burnett tells CBS6. “At one time they said they was going to tear it down, next time they don't have no money,” he adds.
Angel Rodriguez lives next-door to another house on the list along Pleasant Avenue in Schenectady, “Look at it, it's so close, god forbid it causes a fire and gets to the fence and starts traveling up to my house, my mother is on oxygen, we're scared every day,” he says.
Normally, the City of Schenectady spends about $100,000 a year tearing down bad building but Mayor McCarthy is asking to take out a $3 million loan to get more of them wiped off the map. “I'm trying to get people to move to Schenectady and talk about the good things that the community has to offer but at the same time I can't pretend the bad things aren't there and we have to have a plan in place to address it,” McCarthy says. The $3 million would apparently cover the demolition costs for about 100 homes and buildings. “What I spend every day in terms of police, fire and other negative influences that these properties create, we're already spending the money that would repay this loan,” McCarthy adds.
Many of the homes in question are not owned by the City of Schenectady but the City’s Corporation Council plans to go after the owners to help recoup the costs of demolition. McCarthy says between that money and a portion of the Federal Community Development Block Grant, the city could secure the funding.