Speak up about blight

When people see a dilapidated building that is an eyesore in their neighborhood, it is common to hear them say, “How did it get this bad?”

Often, the answer is people ignored the problem.

The best thing people can do when they see an abandoned building that is falling apart is to contact the proper authorities.

We were reminded of the blight issue recently when the city of Johnstown accepted a quit-claim deed for a property at 308 1/2 S. Market St. The owner turned over the property to the city so the buildings at the site can be torn down.

City officials said the property contains buildings that used to make up a small glove factory. It appeared no maintenance had been done there for some time. A porch on the larger of the two structures collapsed, its foundation caved in on one side, and the ground around it is littered with broken glass.

This did not happen overnight. It’s unfortunate this problem property was not dealt with sooner. Something might have been done years ago – perhaps by the owner, perhaps by the city – if neighbors had been more vocal about their concern.

Taxpayers pay good money to make sure these issues can be addressed by authorities when private owners fail to maintain their properties. However, we have seen more than one instance over the years where little was done about a blighted property until members of the public spoke up.