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Arnold makes real estate deals

| Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 12:26 a.m.

Several Arnold properties changed hands during Tuesday's council meeting.

Council approved the sale of a house at 1435 Third Ave. from the Westmoreland County repository of unsold properties to Kathryn Barkefelt.

Barkefelt's mother, Lisa Mercurio of Constitution Avenue, said her daughter plans to live in the house with her children.

Mercurio said the family has completed extensive work on the building and plans to put a new roof on the house in the spring.

“We've done everything we can possibly do,” Mercurio said. “We'd like to bring that house back to its natural beauty.”

Code Enforcement Officer Rick Rayburg confirmed the family has made improvements to the property, which he said has been vacant for several years and likely would have eventually been targeted for demolition by the city.

Barkefelt offered $500 for the property. Council consented to the sale from the county repository, which holds properties that aren't bought in tax sales.

The city gained possession of a house at 1613 Woodmont Ave. through a donation from Wells Fargo bank.

Community Development Officer Tom Dunn said the bank approached the city about the donation.

Although the interior of the house needs work and had been vandalized, Dunn said the exterior, roof and windows are in good shape.

“We feel there is still value in the property,” he said.

County property recordsindicate the site was seized in a sheriff's sale this year. Dunn said the property was donated to the city free of all liens and that Wells Fargo would cover closing costs.

The city has been working with the Arnold Redevelopment Authority to sell properties the city has acquired through tax sales, condemnations or other means.

Council agreed to turn over another property — 1374 Fourth Ave. — to the authority on Tuesday.

The goal is for the authority to market and sell the government-owned land and return it to the tax rolls.

In other business

Council agreed to enter into a five-year contract with a financial adviser, provided the state agrees to pay most of the $65,000 cost.

Councilman Dave Horvat, who oversees Arnold's finances, said Wexford-based Delta Development Group would analyze the city's finances and offer suggestions for long-term stability.

Horvat said the city applied for 90 percent funding for Delta's services through the Department of Community and Economic Development's Early Intervention Program. The city joined the state program earlier this year.

Depending on how long the state takes to review and approve the application, Horvat said the city could begin working with Delta by the end of the year.

He said city officials interviewed five consultants and liked Delta the best.

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or

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