It's an all-too common problem in Harrisburg: abandoned properties making it difficult for others who do care about their homes and the quality of their lives.
Wednesday night, I spoke with Jackie Wenrich, who lives at 14th and Kittatinny Streets. She took us to the side of her home which faces an abandoned home and an overgrown yard.
"This is bad," she said. "The smell is really, really bad."
The woman does not exaggerate. There is definitely decaying flesh in that mess, probably animal, but I wasn't going to check. The smell even hit me on the sidewalk in front of her house.
"I can't open my windows to let any air in," Wenrich said. "When I open the front door, the smell just comes right in with it."
Wenrich says she's been calling the city for some six years about the overgrowth, but those efforts intensified recently with the stench.
"I have called codes enforcement. I have called the mayor's office," she said.
I explained Jackie's plight to city councilwoman Sandra Reid.
"I feel for her," Reid said. "She's paying her taxes. She's a property owner. She's probably elderly. And she's done everything in her power to maintain her house. She doesn't want to move."
Reid has led a crusade to clean up streets across Harrisburg. She's also worked hard to take care of her home and her neighborhood, but admits it isn't easy.
"I'm standing here and I'm getting bit up by mosquitoes," Reid said. "Why? Because there's tall grass and probably pockets of water and mosquitoes in the grass."
Wenrich did get some good news shortly before she came over. The city is sending a cleanup crew on July 10. Great news? Maybe.
"We'll see come July 10th if it gets taken care of," Wenrich said. "I really have no faith in anybody at this point."
3235 Hoffman Street, Harrisburg, PA 17110
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