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Harrison ready to demolish buildings

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By George Guido
Tuesday, June 25, 2013, 12:26 a.m.

Harrison Township officials hope to have a number of dilapidated buildings demolished soon.

The township will seek bids to tear down as many as 22 structures starting July 12.

At the top of the priority list, according to officials, is a burned- out residence at 80 Pond St. and other buildings on Pine and Blue Ridge streets.

Commissioner Gary Lilly said the 22 township properties are condemned and are on the list for the next wave of demolitions.

In addition, the township hopes to acquire 20 more properties that are now going through the condemnation process.

Lilly also asked Solicitor Charles Means to look into what could be done about properties that are abandoned being turned over from banks to finance companies, who then rent the buildings to tenants.

One such property is where a person convicted of neglect that led to his brother's death had that property sold to a California finance company, according to officials. Commissioners are concerned the township might have to spend at least $20,000 in various fees if the township has to take over the property in the future.

Officials cited, as an example, the former McKechnie Insurance Agency in the Natrona section of Harrison that was moved between owners — even though the building was uninhabitable.

Township officials also are looking at dumping an aggregate or milled pavement in yards of homes waiting for the wrecking ball so the township doesn't have to keep the grass mowed.

“It's really getting out of hand,” said commissioners President George Conroy.

Commissioners hope a recent situation is repeated in which neighbors helped keep an abandoned property mowed, with the thought of eventually taking over a vacant lot once a home is demolished under a new Allegheny County program.

Officials are concerned, however, that stormwater runoff might occur if yards are filled with packed down old pavement.

Lilly also reminded landlords that properties have to be inspected each time tenants change.

In other business

• The township will apply for a $229,000 grant for a sewage pump station replacement project on Freeport Road.

The money would come from the Allegheny County Gaming Economic Development Fund.

• Commissioners awarded a $7,500 contract to J. Marcoz,Inc., to replace the Hilltop Hose Co. fire siren.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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