Stowe moves forward on funding ask for demolitions
By Chadwick Dolgos
The unprioritized and initial list of proposed Stowe Township demolitions include:
660 Woodward Ave.
66 and 113 Harlem Ave.
604 and 620 Ridge Ave.
133 and 135 Orchard St.
86 Euclid Ave.
66 McKinnie Ave.
47 Glenn Way
19 Walther St.
804 and 806 7th St.
1422, 1437 and 1457 Fleming Ave.
1183 Island Ave.
107 Louis Drive
27 Coles Row
700 Ridge Ave.
15, 17 and 19 McCoy Road
Nearly a dozen Stowe residents gathered to provide input to commissioners during an April 12 public hearing about a proposal to demolish 23 abandoned properties around the township.
Following the hearing, commissioners voted unanimously April 13 to apply for a $250,000 grant for the demolition of blighted structures through Allegheny County Economic Development (ACED).
Residents made cases, during the hearing, to prioritize some properties over others for demolition.
Carol Kinzer championed the removal of 27 Coles Row, saying it is blighted and was infested with rats.
“The roof is caved in and the foundation’s bleeding out,” she said. “Everything’s a mess on that building.”
While Kinzer appreciated that the township has addressed the rat problem, she notes the property is an eyesore for the street, which was recently redone, and asked the board to move the property up on the priority list.
Joe Crugnale, the absentee owner of 661 Woodward Ave. since 2006, attended with his attorney and argued that the structure of his building is sound, asking the council to give him 60-90 days to try and sell the home.
“I don’t have a problem putting you down to 23,” said Parilla, referencing the house’s priority rank for demolition. “I would like to look at that property and I would like to have our engineer look into it.”
Cheryl DeAngelis urged the board to demolish 1422 Fleming Ave., which she said has trees growing inside and has a rodent issue.
“It’s got a family of raccoons, and there are groundhogs and stray cats living in it,” she said.
DeAngelis, whose family has provided upkeep on the property for the past 40 years, hopes to acquire the property and put it on the tax roll.
“I would like to acquire it after [it’s demolished] and put it back on the tax roll as a parking lot for myself,” said DeAngelis.
Ultimately, the grant funds, if awarded, may not cover the costs to demolish the first 23 of about 125 properties identified by township officials.
Engineer Veronica Bennet said she believes the township may not receive the entire amount they’re requesting.
“They’re saying that no one’s going to get the full $250,000, but we’re applying for it anyway,” she said.
Bennett said the only option to boost the township’s chances of receiving more grant money is for the township itself to agree to match the grant. The board expressed no interest in pursuing matching grants during the hearing or follow up public meetings.
“I don’t know if we’ll get all [23 properties] down, but we’ll get a majority of them done,” said President Robin Parilla, who wants the township to apply for further grants to fill the funding gap. “Some of them can probably be done in-house, because some of them are shacks, but there are some that are close to other houses that will need to be done professionally.”
“Over the past few years, we have done our due diligence to be able to attack this issue,” said Parilla.