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Abandoned property demolitions moving forward in borough

By Chadwick Dolgos


Council approved two motions for four demolition projects during the April 7 Coraopolis workshop meeting.

The projects will cost nearly $140,000 to complete but would be fully covered through grants.

The first motion authorized CharWest Council of Governments Director Michele Lutz to apply for an Act 152 grant to demolish 1403 and 1430 5th Ave.

The property at 1430 5th Ave. was destroyed by fire in September 2019.

“They’ve never done any work to clean it up or tear it down,” said Borough Manager Raymond McCutcheon.

Located nearby at 1403 5th Ave. is the old Van-Balen Laundry Co. building, where the roof caved in more than five years ago and the back of the structure is crumbling.

If the borough is not awarded the grant and hopes to demolish the two properties, they will likely have to find new avenues for funding.

“The cost for these two buildings is estimated at almost $100,000,” McCutcheon said. “The borough doesn’t have funds available to demolish private property.”

The borough will also be utilizing a community development block grant (CDBG) to completely cover the $39,000 cost of demolishing 1528 5th Ave. and 1730 Montour St.

The property at 1528 5th Ave. has been abandoned for more than a decade.

According to McCutcheon, the owners are from out of town and have not properly maintained the property. 1703 Montour St. is also an abandoned property with a gaping hole in the roof.

“I have to be truthful, $39,000 is a lot of money for two demolitions,” McCutcheon said.

“Usually we can do a house between $8,000 and $10,000.”

The cost of these demolitions are elevated because of asbestos and other environmental issues accompanying the buildings.

The council has already received a second CDBG grant to be utilized when demolishing three more properties: 1424 and 1731 Hiland Ave. and 536 5th Ave.

“We’re just trying to make the town look cleaner,” McCutcheon said.

In other news:

• Mill Street will be closed from noon to 4 p.m. on June 12, July 10 and Aug. 14 for Coraopolis’ Second Saturday events, organized by Coraopolis Community Development.

• Coraopolis adopted the Allegheny County 2020 Hazard Mitigation Plan.

• McCutcheon will be signing reimbursement and release agreements with Columbia Gas Co. for the Main Street sidewalk replacement project between 6th Avenue and Kable Way on the eastern side of the road, and the portion of the borough’s 2021 Road Program that include Watson Street from Ridge Avenue to Alder Alley, 900 Block of Ridge and 700 Block of 6th.

• A six-month food truck permit was approved for Cobblehaus Brewing Company at the gazebo parking lot.

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