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Borough forges ahead on abandoned property demo


By Dianne Stuckman

The move to “fight bight” in Coraopolis continues with three abandoned structures demolished in recent months and 10 others sold recently to rehabbers.

Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon said removing or repairing abandoned properties helps the community.

“Coraopolis is on an upswing right now,” McCutcheon said. “The whole town seems to be doing better.”

Community Development Block Grants can cover costs of razing properties and the Vacant Property Recovery Program brings buyers to the table, he said.

For example, the demolition of houses at 623 7th and 123 Mill streets were paid for by Community Development Block Grants. Homes at 1528 5th Ave. and 1730 Montour St. are next to go once asbestos abatement is complete. Three others – 1424 Highland, 1731 Highland and 536 5th avenues – will be demolished by spring, according to officials.

Sometimes the municipality foots the bill for demolition. C's Place, a long-vacant bar at 202 Broad St., was recently razed by Tom Sipes Demolition of Monaca at a cost of $9,500 from the borough’s general fund.

Through the Vacant Property Recovery Program, McCutcheon said properties' back taxes are forgiven to make properties more enticing to purchase. Vacant lots are sold for approximately $3,000 to $5,000, often to adjoining neighbors or interested developers. Homes in disrepair can be sold for $10,000 to $15,000.

The demolition process can take three years to get the go-ahead from Allegheny County.

“When you get grant money, there are stipulations that take time,” said McCutcheon.

American Rescue Act

The first payment of the American Rescue Act was received by Coraopolis Borough and earmarked for road repair.

Funds totaling $284,000 of federal stimulus money and $150,000 reimbursement from the Water and Sewer Authority will cover the cost of the Wood Street Project.

The one-block stretch of Wood Street from 7th Avenue to 25 feet beyond Highland Avenue is slated to be done by fall.

The brick street will be replaced with asphalt. The Water and Sewer Authority will replace water lines and line the sewer lines during the project. Handicapped accessible sidewalk ramps will be added on Highland Avenue.

“$450,000 for that little piece is a lot but we are getting it done,” Manager Ray McCutcheon said during the July 14th Council meeting.

Unemployment fraud

Police Chief Ronald Denbow advised residents to be aware of fraudulent unemployment claims in the community. Manager McCutcheon alerted him to an attempt received by the Borough to file a false claim under McCutcheon's own name.

Scammers had acquired McCutcheon's name and social security number. Chief Denbow said victims can report fraud with the Unemployment Compensation website and file a police report.

Poll workers needed

Council President David Pendel said the borough is seeking additional poll workers for the November election.

At the May Primary, only 17 of the required 35 poll worker positions were filled for their 7 precincts. To apply, click on 'poll workers' at the website.

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