The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


May 11, 2014

City man thrilled to buy lot at auction

SUNBURY — Franklin Young was never a property owner before Thursday.

The 49-year-old city resident, who lives with his parents at 704 Chestnut St., was in tears as he hugged his father just moments after he bid on and won the lot next door during a city auction.

He has ideas for the lot. He wants to plant a garden. He wants to build a fire pit to barbecue chicken. He wants to construct a butcher shop for his family. He wants to help his parents and the senior citizens who live across the street at the high-rise.

“I love making people happy,” he said.

His and four other people’s purchases generated $48,500 that was collected from Thursday’s auction, which is part of a blight-fighting initiative by the city.

Thursday’s sale brings the redevelopment authority’s total auction sales to $157,834 since the authority was re-introduced. The money will go to the authority and Community Development Block Grant program fund matches.

“This is making a huge difference,” Mayor David Persing said later at a $1,000 sale at 310-312 S. Front St.

The vacant or abandoned properties, which were taken over by the city, likely would have stayed in disrepair had city officials not acted and sold them, he said.

Former owners had 10 days to respond to the code violations, or the city would begin taking legal action to acquire the properties.

Some owners addressed the issues, and some did not. Other owners could not be found, so Persing and the City Council requested the help of the Northumberland County Court to seize the properties.

Persing announced the initiative in 2012 and reinstated the Sunbury Redevelopment Authority, with code officers requiring many property owners to bring their properties to code.

All purchasers must provide plans for the redevelopment of auctioned properties to the city clerk’s office within 30 days. The city and the authority can accept or reject redevelopment plans. A 10 percent down payment will be refunded if the plans are rejected.

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