In Tidioute, the walls came tumbling down
County demolitions have launched in Tidioute Borough.
Over the past month, the County Redevelopment Authority (RDA), in conjunction with the commissioners office, have initiated a series of four property demolitions throughout the county, the most ambitious effort to address blight by the RDA in the past decade.
The Redevelopment Authority has not demoed more than one property in a year, nor have they demoed four properties over the past ten years. Due to renewed interest from the commissioners office, new board members and a mandate from the Redevelopment Task Force to expand demolition, all parties have buckled down to address blight head on.
The first demolition property was 3 Economy Street, Tidioute Borough, a house badly burnt over two years ago. Demolition began Monday, October 14, by the RDA’s contractor, Fox & Sons Excavation.
The three remaining properties are set to be demolished in the coming weeks.
The feeling for Tidioute, one of three municipalities with properties scheduled for demolition, was immediate relief.
“On behalf of everyone on council and me, I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all you did to finally get all of that cleaned up, it looks amazing now,” said Tidioute Mayor Pam McLaughlin.
“It’s about time,” said Council President Henry Brown. “It’s taken three years to get this structure down, opening it up or having it be someone’s yard. Other possibilities exist for this property (now) including a possible structure. This property (cleared) will improve the quality of property values and overall quality of life in the Tidioute community.”
Previous challenges have been faced concerning demolition of properties throughout the county.
“We know it can be frustrating, given the amount of time it takes until the blight condition is resolved, but there are a number of steps we are required by law to follow when demolishing a dilapidated structure,” said Dan Glotz, Planning and Zoning Director.
Members of the RDA, Planning and Zoning Department, the County Solicitor and Commissioner Jeff Eggleston have taken steps in reducing the time it takes to demolish properties.
The above group made a trip to Lawrence County in order to study their use of a landbank and highly effective process of addressing blight. A number of initiatives are now moving forward, two in particular taking hold to the current demolition project.
One, the Commissioners have used Act 13 in order to diversify funding sources to help supplement the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding already allocated for the project.
Two, a bulk bidding process was encouraged by the commissioners to lower the overall cost of demolition, saving the county tens of thousands of dollars. Previously, each property demolition was bid out separately, increasing costs.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Commissioner Eggleston. “With the help of Pam Matve, Chief Clerk and Lorri Dunlap, our Grants Administrator, we were able to work together and figure out a way to both save money and expand our reach. Best of all, these properties were major hazards and will make a real impact on their respective communities.”
124 Main Street, Clarendon is set as the next demolition property to occur this coming week. 7 Exchange Street, Clarendon will follow. To conclude the demolition project, 4582 Route 6 East, Sheffield, will come down.
“We’ve taken a big step forward,” said Commissioner Eggleston. “We will continue to work with the RDA and municipalities to do everything we can to address these properties and improve our quality of life.”