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Altoona Forms Task Force To Fight City's Blight Problems

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A blighted house was taken down in Altoona.

The city of Altoona is forming a Blight Task Force to address the problem of housing deterioration, and it’s calling for residents to apply to its two openings by Friday, September 8.

The task force will spend the next year identifying the city’s problems with blight and coming up with an action plan.

The task force will have 15 members made up of city employees, business owners and local residents. Meeting once every quarter, their goal will be to learn about the city’s blight issues and help develop a strategy.

Blighted and abandoned housing spreads across not only the state, but our nation. Deteriorated properties have lower value, decrease tax revenue and bring down the market price for their communities as a whole. 

Mayor Matt Pacifico said although Altoona doesn't have a serious blight problem, he is counting on the findings of the task force to understand the extent of the blight problem better.  

“There’re some neighborhoods where blight is more prevalent than other areas," Pacifico said. "But there’re also some area where you wouldn’t expect to see blight.”

The city also gets help from the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania in the process. The Alliance is an organization that advocates effort in housing rehabilitation and community improvement across Pennsylvania. 

Altoona received a grant of $32,400 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development earlier this year for blight training and technical assistance. Statewide, the department’s Early Intervention Program gave out $164,000 for similar projects.

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