To fight blight, city needs cooperation

It’s not news to say that blight exists in Altoona.

The first question to ask is not “What do we do about blight?” but rather, “Why does blight exist?”

I believe that there two possibilities for the existence of blight.

First, people are unable to do anything about it. Secondly, people are unwilling to correct the problem.

The people who are unable need help. The people who are unwilling need motivation.

For those who are unable, perhaps they need some kind of monetary assistance. It’s unfortunate that the people who really need assistance are often unable to get assistance. Why not give them the permits they need, change regulations and codes, and help them?

If we really want to solve the blight problem, then we should be willing to help those who desire to change the blighted conditions.

For those who are unwilling, these have the means to change things but lack the willingness to do so. Perhaps stringent enforcement of municipal codes will motivate them.

Yes, it is private property, but pressure from the neighborhood to conform should prevail.

Unwillingness leads to laziness, which leads to apathy, which then leads to indifference. We cannot afford to reward people for their unwillingness to correct the blighted conditions. They are free to move to where they can be alone and live in whatever blighted conditions they choose.

The first impression of a visitor should be that Altoona is a city of beauty and not blight.

Let’s help them have that impression of Altoona.

David Greenwood



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