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Harrison delays projects, citing projected costs

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 12:21 a.m.

Harrison Commissioners on Monday delayed two projects due to high costs.

Board president George Conroy said the township is seeking an alternative to spending $229,000 to replace a sewage pump station that serves about 20 homes on Freeport Road.

The pump is about 40 years old and parts are obsolete and costly, Conroy said.

He declined to disclose the alternative fix because he hadn't spoken to the parties involved.

The township also hopes to spend less money by seeking new bids to demolish six homes in the Natrona section of the township.

The board received two bids and had been expected to award a demolition contract for about $15,500 to raze a burned-out home at 80 Pond St. and a dilapidated structure at 112 Blue Ridge Ave.

“Those bids received were extremely high,” Conroy said.

The Blue Ridge building was the home of the Duff family before Larry and Lisa Duff were jailed for their roles in the beating death of Larry Duff's disabled brother, Ronald Duff, last October.

The money to pay for the demolitions will come from a $20,000 federal Community Development Block Grant awarded to Harrison through the Allegheny County North Council of Governments.

Township officials hope to demolish at least 20 other abandoned structures.

New property law coming

The township plans to advertise for public review a new property maintenance ordinance that it developed following a California finance company's sale of the Duff home to Larry Duff — even though the township had condemned it.

Solicitor Charles Means said the ordinance would apply to any home being sold, leased or mortgaged.

The ordinance would require the seller or owner to disclose in writing all code violation citations, notices and court dates.

The buyer or renter would have to commit to the township that they plan to pay any fines and fix violations within 60 days. That person would be required to state which contractor they plan to use.

The township would then provide an official document of the agreement so the sale or lease can be finalized.

“We need to get the word out to real estate agents that they will need to look for this at closings,” Conroy said. “The house can't be bought until it's shown to be brought up to specifications.”

Commissioners must still vote to formally adopt the ordinance.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or

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