Broome County uses app to turn destruction into destination

By Perry Russom

April 29, 2014 Updated Apr 30, 2014 at 6:28 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Broome County legislators are taking a bite out of blight.

They're two months away from applying for land grant money to fund their efforts, but to get to that money, they're asking for help.

"When you see a blighted house, it really brings down the area," said Broome County Legislator Jason Garnar."I've personally gone to one of the houses where it looks like someone was cooking drugs on a spoon."

The new initiative is called "Fight the Blight."

"Blight isn't a new thing," said Binghamton City Councilwoman Lea Webb. "It's an ongoing challenge."

To get a portion of the millions of dollars available, they need to catalog blighted properties with pictures, so they turned to a free smartphone application called "SeeClickFix" to get the community's help.

When you're walking down the street and you see blight, you open the app, take a picture, type what the problem is and report the issue. The county then stores all of the blighted properties on its website.

You may be thinking, how does blight affect me?

If you have blight in your neighborhood, your property value goes down, meaning less money in your pocket if you're looking to move.

"It attracts crime and again, people don't want to move into an area where that kind of stuff is going on," said Garnar.

All of those pictures and addresses will be gathered for the next two months.

The land grant money will be awarded in the fall.

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