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Crumbling Lehigh Valley buildings keep mason busy

By Bo Koltnow, Reporter, BKoltnow@wfmz.com
Published On: Oct 09 2013 05:03:04 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 09 2013 06:11:24 PM CDT

It's no secret the Lehigh Valley has its share of old buildings and many are showing their age.

ALLENOWN, Pa. -

It's no secret the Lehigh Valley has its share of old buildings and many are showing their age.

Scraping, mixing and pasting are the sounds of gainful employment for mason Kyle Lenhof.

"Lot's of phone calls, lot of people need re-pointing," Lenhof said.

Lenhof, says since his season started in March he's worked 6 days a week.

"I don't see any end to it." He said

The reason, he says, are crumbling bricks on the side of homes and businesses.

"Those are 100 year old brick from the early 1900's and it's deteriorated," he showed us on a house in Allentown. "It's like a sponge absorbs the water."

A few years ago Kyle's bread and butter was work on schools.

But with education funding drying up, so did his work. That is until the constant stream of restoration and chimney work started pouring in.

"Majority of housing in the Lehigh Valley is over 50 years of age about 30% is over 100 years of age, so you would expect some maintenance," Becky Bradley said.

For Executive Director of the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Becky Bradley the maintenance is key in revamping the urban core, like in historic Allentown.

"We've had a really nice textural neighborhoods for years and generations," she said while looking at homes built in the 1870's.

It's lucrative work for Kyle, who says jobs can range from $5,000-$15,000.

"A great sign the economy is starting to stabilize that people have the resources to make those investments," Bradley went on to say.

Kyle's season freezes during the winter but says a whole new set of deteriorating buildings will be waiting in the spring.

"I don't knock on people's door but I'm always looking up," Lenhof laughed.