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Tidioute property awaits demolition

Times Observer file photo This burned-out structure on Economy St. in Tidioute Borough kicked off the discussion during the RDA meeting on Wednesday. The property has been in the RDA’s crosshairs for a while.

The Warren County Redevelopment Authority is soon to become the owner of a blighted property on Economy St. in Tidioute.

But the money doesn’t seem to be lined up to do anything about it.

The RDA – which has already been granted conservatorship over the property – last month approved submitting a bid to purchase the property outright.

The Warren County Commissioners and Tidioute Borough have both approved the bid with just the Warren County School District yet to approve the bid before the deed can be transferred.

Chief Clerk Pam Matve, who resigned her position on the RDA during Tuesday’s meeting, said that federal Community Development Block Grant funds would be used for the $100 bid to acquire the property as well as any fees that are part of the transfer.

County Grants Administrator Lorri Dunlap, though, cautioned that she is not sure if the RDA currently has any acquisition funds available. She asked if the bid could be revoked.

“This was agreed upon last month,” Matve said, “and that’s why I sent the letter (bid) to Tax Claim.”

“Where was anything thinking ‘where was the money to tear it down?” Dunlap asked.

County Planner Dan Glotz asked how difficult moving money to acquisition would be “to get this property secured (and) then begin to deal with the removal.”

He said that of all the properties before the RDA “this one is probably the most important given its location (in a) residential neighborhood… and the condition. It’s not going to get better.”

He added there is no roof on the structure.

“As far as I’m concerned,” Chairman Charles Barone said, “if we get an estimate to tear it down, (I would) go to the municipality for half of it.”

Glotz suggested that he’s “not sure that’s a fair way to do it” while Matve noted that wasn’t a condition of the blight ordinance when municipalities joined.

“(You) have to be careful on what you ask anyone else to do at this point,” Glotz said. “You don’t own it.”

Matve said that the commissioners and Tax Claim agreed to a bid below the minimum for costs incurred.

“This is a house… the location of it, it’s very dangerous. This is the only way to do it – take the ownership and get it down before some little kid walks in.”

She noted that if “we don’t do something, we might as well disband this group.”

Dunlap said the CDBG funds won’t be there to tear the property down until next summer or fall at the earliest.

Glotz recommended that “when the stars align and the RDA (has the property) in hand” that they ask Tidioute Borough for assistance to “clean up the exterior and secure it for now. That would be a big step in the right direction. Then worry about the funding to get the thing down and the lot leveled.”

The RDA unanimously agreed to follow that recommendation.

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