Harrisburg demolishing "dangerous" homes - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Harrisburg demolishing "dangerous" homes

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HARRISBURG, Ill. -- Neighbors in Harrisburg say they feel safer in their homes, now that the city is tearing down dilapidated homes, which they believe, can pose dangers. 

This includes resident Steven Wilkins, who has lived in his two-bedroom home for the past four years. He says he moved back to the state from California to be closer to family, "I live by myself but I have four brothers that live here in Illinois. The closest one lives about seven or eight blocks from here." 

Wilkins says he scoped out the neighborhood before his house was up for sale and found it to be a good fit, "I just thought it was quiet. It was peaceful to me."

However, he has noticed several dilapidated homes nearby, bringing a range of issues from vermin to squatters. 

"Rodents get in there, and every now and then, I see a person I guess trying to find shelter and maybe some homeless person," Wilkins says. "I think it's kinda dangerous, cause you know, all through the night like that." 

Mayor John McPeek says the homes on Ford Street, around the corner from Wilkins, are set to be knocked down. They will join a list of six others already torn down by the city. 

"I love Harrisburg. I've lived there all my life. It's just the last few years its really gone down with dilapidated buildings, homes," McPeek says. "People just don't have the money to fix things up like they used to. Jobs are scarce." 

In addition, eleven other homes are pending signatures for their demolition. McPeek says the property eventually helps bring in tax money while beautifying the area, "We have bids on them and gets them back on the tax role. It makes the people that are living there, it makes them proud to say that they're from Harrisburg." 

Which Wilkins believes will attract new residents and increase home values. "Once you come to a neighborhood and you see houses where people are living in them, automatically that's a plus right there," Wilkins says. 

For more information on the Dangerous Building Demolition Projects, click here

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