Work continues on the Coraopolis Train Station project.
By Elizabeth Perry
Work on the Coraopolis train station project continues despite ongoing discussions with a neighboring business and ever-present funding concerns.
The Coraopolis Community Development Corporation and the Borough of Coraopolis are in talks with the property owner of Snow's Polaris about vacating a portion of road behind their business.
Borough Manager Ray McCutcheon said via email the CCDC would like the borough to vacate a portion of Neville Avenue in front of the train station. That would give ownership of the road to CCDC, and they would pay for its upkeep. This requires approval from all adjacent properties. Dean Snow owns property which abuts Neville Avenue.
“If we could vacate Neville Avenue, it will be in our best interest,” Council President David Pendel said.
Ken Faux, project manager for the train station restoration, explained that currently, the public street allows access to both buildings.
If the borough vacates that road, half will automatically belong to Snow. Snow had concerns about access to his building should the road be vacated.
“Discussions are ongoing about Snow’s possible section of the road regarding access to the back of the train station,” Faux said.
Snow did not respond to requests for comment.
In a public meeting Sept. 14, McCutcheon said Snow was dealing with some health-related issues.
Regardless of the outcome of these talks, McCutcheon said, the project will move forward. Faux said they may not even vacate the road, though the borough would prefer to give those costs associated over to the CCDC.
“It has been a discussion point for a year and a half off and on, and we’re moving on regardless,” Faux said.
The Train Station Project has been in the works for 16 years. The CCDC bought the property, which had been in disuse since the 1980’s, in 2006. Structurally the building had become unsound due to water damage. Work by volunteers began in 2015 to save the collapsing site.
Faux estimated the cost of repairing the building up to this point has been about $750,000 since 2015.
Faux said CCDC has been awarded a $375,000 federal grant through Congressman Conor Lamb’s efforts, which will pay to wrap up the balance of the current contract and fund masonry repointing which will recreate the structure’s original red mortar.
“I think it will really look nice and bring it back to life,” Faux said.
Currently, the CCDC is replacing all the hardscape surfaces at the site.
Frank J. Zottola Construction has been contracted to do the work, which includes pouring driveways, fixing foundations, replacing the sanitary and gas lines and building the foundations for a new 240-foot passenger canopy.
Faux said this phase of construction should be completed by Thanksgiving.
CCDC has received a portion of a $500,000 grant promised by Fred Milanovich Jr. As originally planned, the disbursement of the funding is set to occur over several years. The first donation of $250,000 has been made, Faux said.
The next phase of the restoration, which Faux hopes will be completed next fall, would include replacing all the windows, doors and recreating some leaded and stained glass features.
“All of it’s dependent on funding. For the past year it’s been stalled, because that type of funding has been stalled,” Faux said.