NEW CUMBERLAND – The City of New Cumberland is continuing its efforts to remove blight in the community, with some assistance from the Hancock County Commission and the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle. The three entities are focusing their attention on buildings located at 103 and 104 North Chester St., which the BDC recently purchased at auction. New Cumberland Mayor Linda McNeil explained the structures, which at one time housed businesses such as a family-owned market and a drug store, have been on the city's radar for some time. Article Photos Business Development Corp. Assistant Director Marvin Six and New Cumberland Mayor Linda McNeil stand outside the two properties on North Chester Street recently purchased by the BDC to assist with efforts to remove blight in the city. — Craig Howell “The city had condemned it, but we hadn't moved beyond that point,” McNeil explained. “This site has sorely deteriorated over the years. It has become a blight.” McNeil said the city's condemnation process was ambiguous, without much authority to do anything with the properties, and council was preparing to use its newer nuisance property ordinance when they learned the buildings were going up for auction. “When it came up for auction, she asked if we were interested,” BDC Assistant Director Marvin Six said. McNeil explained the city was concerned future owners might continue to let the site deteriorate, and hoped to get someone responsible interested in redevelopment. After discussions, and with support from New Cumberland officials and the county commission, the BDC made an offer for the property through the auction process, recently learning it had submitted the highest bid. “Council looks forward to working with (BDC Executive Director) Pat Ford and Marvin Six on this project,” McNeil said, noting they are still in early discussions about potential projects, but saying one idea is to turn it into a parking lot to accommodate increased traffic and businesses in New Cumberland's downtown. “We are getting businesses in town,” McNeil noted. “Some are leaving, but more are coming.” Six noted tackling blight has become a focus for the BDC, which has begun working with representatives of several communities in Hancock and Brooke counties to develop programs to address blighted, abandoned or deteriorating structures in the area. “This ties into our B.A.D. Building program,” Six explained McNeil explained New Cumberland can't afford to purchase, demolish and rehabilitate such properties on its own, making the partnership with the BDC and county a perfect opportunity beautify the city, which, she says, can be seen as a gateway community for Hancock County. “Any improvement will help everyone,” she said.
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