Blight Solutions

While some area communities have abandoned buildings starting to decay or fall down, some officials in Fulton and Montgomery counties do not see blight as a big problem, while other communities aren’t waiting, taking a pro-active approach.

Donald Simmons is the code enforcement officer for the village and town of Broadalbin and said he has yet to see blight as a major issue in the village.

“There aren’t that many buildings just rotting away on our properties. Most people keep their yards, houses and property clean,” Simmons said.

The crumbling smoke stack in the village’s old furniture mill would be considered one of the few blight issues, he said. However, Simmons did not see the smoke stack as a blight issue since ownership has allegedly changed hands.

“Someone has bought the property and we have been reaching out to them, and they say they have plans of doing something with it in the next year,” Simmons explained.

The town tends to have more blight issues than the village, mostly unregistered vehicles junking up properties, Simmons said.

“We are rural, smaller communities. No one wants a mechanic shop or a junk store next to them. Most people take pride in their properties. It’s a friendly community. If it was a problem we would reach out to the owners,” Simmons said.

Ron Hinkle, Fonda’s code enforcement officer, said he does not see the village experiencing many blight issues.

“We have a few buildings that need to be torn down, but no junk vehicles,” Hinkle said.

He explained when the price of steel goes up people are more likely to scrap their vehicles for the cash rather than let the car sit in the yard and weeds grow up around it.

Town of Caroga Code Enforcement Officer Shelia Yates said blight is still a major issue, but is getting better because of community efforts, but one man’s junk may be another’s treasure.

“It’s getting better, but it takes time. People are impatient and not always easy to please. Getting people to care and volunteer is the hardest thing to do,” Yates said.

The town offers two free dump weekends a year to try and provide people without dump passes the opportunity to get rid of their garbage.

Yates also spearheads a monthly blight committee who is willing to assist other members in the community with clean up.

“There are a definite nine people who attend the blight committee meetings each month, she said.”

The group is willing to offer trucks to aid disabled people in moving blight from their property.

Yates said a few weeks ago an elderly woman in the community needed help cleaning up. The blight committee assisted her. A caring citizen donated a dumpster, Yates explained.

“If they are asking for help. We help them. I’m lucky I have people willing to talk to [others] in the community,” she said.

Safety is one the biggest concerns when it comes to blight, which at times can be hard to determine.

“Just because people have a lot of things in their yards it doesn’t mean it’s blight,” Yates said.

Many people use pallets to stack their wood for winter months, she explained. When they’re neatly stacked it doesn’t create an eyesore. People who throw pallets with protruding nails all across their yards is a different story, Yates said.

Some of the town’s most common blight problems are junk vehicles, RVS, ATVS and snowmobiles.

Yates said that it’s understandable to have a vehicle sitting for a few months waiting to get repaired.

“But if its been sitting there for three years, it’s junk,” she said.

Keep Mohawk Valley Beautiful is one of the resources Yates seeks to try and find grant funds for the community.

“We go above and beyond. Some people find it very difficult to throw their stuff away. Community is the biggest help when it comes to blight,” Yates said.

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