New Kensington targets 7 houses for demolition in October
In recent weeks, New Kensington cleared away more than a dozen blighted buildings — including a Seventh Street house that was involved in an explosion earlier this month.
The city's redevelopment authority contracted with Ford City-based Infinity Crane and Excavating to tear down 16 residential properties throughout the city.
Kim McAfoose, the authority's executive director, said the authority will open contractors' bids for another round of demolitions on seven more properties in October.
The houses are among two dozen that city council condemned in March.
At the time, Code Enforcement Officer Pat McGrath detailed an array of problems at each property, which for many included leaky roofs, rotting porches, broken windows and doors, overgrown weeds, piled-up garbage and rodent infestations.
Some also had collapsing foundations or floors.
“These are the worst of the worst,” McGrath said then, noting he'd started with a list of about 70 blighted properties and singled out the ones posing the biggest safety concerns.
Included in the recent demolitions was 860 Seventh St., an abandoned house that police said was the target of a homemade bomb on Sept. 12. Police charged Gregory Domanski, 50, of neighboring 858 Seventh St. with arson for allegedly setting off a pipe bomb near the vacant house's natural gas line.
Police said Domanski had complained about the vacant house, which was not seriously damaged in the explosion. Domanski was injured but has since been released from the hospital.
McAfoose said the redevelopment authority board on Sept. 4, a week before the explosion, agreed to pay an additional $9,800 to add the Seventh Street house to an existing $91,200 demolition contract with Infinity.
McAfoose said moving up the razing of the Seventh Street house was unrelated to Domanski's concerns, of which she was unaware.
The house was slated for inclusion with the second round of demolitions that are awaiting bids. Since most of the second-round properties need surveying and possible abatement of asbestos or other environmental issues that the Seventh Street house did not require, the board opted to add it to the first wave of demolitions, McAfoose said.
The Seventh Street house had prior fire damage and was uninhabitable with its collapsing roof and porch, as well as rodents, McGrath had said in March. It was torn down last week.
McAfoose said the demolition work on the first round of houses is almost complete; contractually, Infinity must be done by Oct. 31.
The authority uses a portion of the city's allotment of federal Community Development Block Grant money for acquisition and demolition of blighted properties.
Included in the next round will be a duplex just down the block on Seventh at 844-46. The city has owned that house since 2004, when it was bought from Westmoreland County's repository of unsold properties.
Also to be demolished is 1253 Kenneth Ave., a house that police said was operating as a speakeasy in 2005 when masked gunmen burst into the basement and shot three people, including the homeowner at the time, Alan “Goat” Wilson. The three victims survived; the gunmen weren't found.
The first round of demolition included 282 Ridge Ave. at the corner of McCargo Street, a house that burned in a 2011 arson.
Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Saxonburg man pleads no contest to setting boy, 7, on fire
- Gas prices are falling, but Pittsburgh area lags behind average
- Marine recalls Saigon: April 30, 1975 — the day the U.S. Embassy closed
- Charges filed in June stabbing of Buffalo Township sailor
- Tarentum fire hits vehicles, garage
- Harrison considers options for Pittsburgh Heritage Trail through township
- Deer Lakes hires part-time communications coordinator
- Lower Burrell officers recognized for ending theft ring
- Haiti native teaches Creole to missionaries at Zion United Methodist Church
- Leechburg Area School District contracts with Pittsburgh firm for online database
- Cambodian students answer Oakmont group’s prayers