West York fighting blight with letters

WEST YORK, Pa. - Borough leaders are taking extra steps to fight blight. Trash, furniture and tall grass have been a problem in the borough for several years. Now they’re handing out one of two letters to residents to try and fix it. Borough Manager Shawn Mauck said it’s all in an effort to make West York America's next great small town.

Along Poplar Street, you'll find beautiful flowers, flags, and…a broken family room chair on the sidewalk.

"When we first moved here it was totally different, totally different,” West York resident Fran Mauck, said.

That was 50 years ago. Today…

"Peeling paint, broken windows, high grass that's two feet tall,” Mauck said. “All of these things amount to violations or infractions of our property maintenance code.”

But it's not all bad. In fact, there are plenty of properties within the property maintenance code; some go above and beyond what's required. Mauck decided not only to recognize the bad, but the good.

“We printed up a letter, a little thank-you letter,” Mauck said. “We either try to hand deliver it in person to congratulate them  on being a part of what we're trying to do or we leave a little note behind in an envelope saying, 'thank you’.”

Jane Moreland was one of the two dozen who got the “good" letter. She actually thought she was in trouble at first.

"I was outside last week working on that side of the house and found that letter,” Moreland said. “It makes you feel good because at least somebody's noticing you're doing something because there's some people that don't keep their house nice."

And if you are one of those people, you could receive a letter which states you could face penalties, if you don't remediate your property. Some fines can be as severe as $5,000 a day.

“We've seen about two dozen reach out and say to the bad boy letter, 'hey, what are my obligations? What do I need to do? What do I need to fix?' that's really the biggest intent was to wake people up to understand that there are rules and regulations,” Mauck said.

The borough said they plan on visiting a different neighborhood each week during the summer months to hand out the letters.

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