Good Neighbors

Sparkt Gets Behind One Man's Neighborhood Crusade

When Darrell "Chucc" Paige reached out to us for help with the house next door, we just had to see it for ourselves.

This is the story of how one bad house can mess up a really nice neighborhood, and how one man's willingness to take action could change that.

When Darrell "Chucc" Paige sent a Facebook message to us at Sparkt, he was at the end of his rope with the City of McKeesport about the abandoned house next door to the house where he lives with his family on Jenny Lind Street.

Darrell told us he works hard to keep his home safe for his family, which includes four sons, ages 8-15, but it hasn't been easy with a house of horrors right next door. The abandoned house is so close to his house that there's barely room to walk between them, but just enough room for wild animals to get from the empty house into his.

"It's nothing for a raccoon to come from (the second story window) over there into my son's room." Darrell "Chucc" Paige, McKeesport

If you think the front of the house is bad, check out the backyard and the garage. Paige says people have turned the back of the property into a dumping ground for all kinds of trash and other hazardous and gross things. "I don't think that's really iced tea in there but who knows," said Darrell, pointing to a plastic jug full of amber liquid tossed on the ground.

Darrell says he's complained to the City of McKeesport, but hasn't seen anything being done to clean up the house, board it up, or tear it down.

We've discovered some good news for Darrell and his neighbors, but they'll still have to wait a while longer. The home next door is now officially on the city's demolition list, along with hundreds of other properties in the city's multi-million dollar project called "McKeesport Rising." The program aims to eventually demolish nearly 300 abandoned properties, including 50 on Jenny Lind Street. If you have a property you'd like to complain about you can contact the mayor's office or city council.

Watch for more details coming soon on the "McKeesport Rising" project here on Share this story to help spread awareness about the problem of abandoned houses, and create your own story to start sparking change in your neighborhood.

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