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Home demolition part of blight effort in Sharpsburg

| Monday, Dec. 26, 2016, 2:42 p.m.
Jan Pakler | For the Tribune-Review
Demolition of this house on Clay Street in Sharpsburg started last week.

An abandoned house along Clay Street in Sharpsburg will be demolished this week as part of an ongoing effort by a community group to get rid of blight.

The Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization helped secure money for the work, which is expected to cost about $7,500.

“It's in a residential area but also a block away from the business district so demolition will improve public safety all around,” said Brittany Reno, SNO executive director.

Borough officials worked with SNO staff to consider properties where demolition would have the biggest impact on redevelopment.

The home at 621 Clay St. has long been abandoned and was posted as condemned by the borough. The porch is detaching from the home and the windows are boarded shut.

“It's a safety hazard and tax delinquent, too,” Reno said. “When we are able to prepare the site for redevelopment, it will add value back to the borough.”

Manager Bill Rossey said the borough received a grant from the Pittsburgh Community Redevelopment Group to pay for demolition. The lowest bid came from KCA Demolition of Duquesne.

“The house creates a health risk to the community,” Rossey said. “Eliminating blight from the community is a benefit to everyone.”

In November, SNO developed the resident-driven Fight Blight Work Group to craft a plan to prevent, remediate and repurpose blighted properties. It is Reno's plan in spring to begin implementing the plan through grassroots projects in the community.

Anyone interested in volunteering with the blight committee can visit sharpsburgneighborhood.org.

In other news, senior citizens can request a free home safety check through North Hills Community Outreach. Volunteers will visit homes on Jan. 16 to conduct fall and fire safety checks and will direct homeowners to free access to safety items like flashlights, bath mats and night lights.

After the safety check, seniors in need can also request grab bars or railings to be installed free of charge by a professional contractor at a follow-up appointment. To register, call Cathy at 412-307-0069 ext. 3313 or email clpschirer@nhco.org.

Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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