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Monessen mayor says downtown coke plant will reopen

| Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, 2:26 a.m.

Nearly five years after shutting down its Monessen coke facilities, ArcelorMittal will reopen the site in May 2014.

At a city council meeting Wednesday, Mayor Mary Jo Smith discussed the plans for the shuttered coke plant.

Smith said city and company officials are working together, clearing up “misinformation” the company received. She said ArcelorMittal will apply for building permits to complete work at the plant.

When the plant reopens, 113 jobs will be restored, Smith said. It will include 99 union callbacks.

The city made a request related to jobs not accepted by people on the callback list.

“One of our requests was that they at least interview Monessen people for those jobs, and they agreed,” Smith said.

In other news, council approved an agreement that could lead to development of a downtown restaurant-hotel complex.

The deal involves the transfer of property at 500 Donner Ave. from Miller Commercial Real Estate to the city for $37,500.

According to City Administrator John Harhai, contractor Stan Kershaw wants to build a restaurant on the first floor and add 16 to 20 hotel rooms on the upper two floors. Smith said Kershaw, who owns several other homes in the city, plans to build an outside glass elevator and a canopy on the front of the building.

In other business, William Bronson and Maurice Rice, trustees of the Union Baptist Church, asked council for help.

Bronson said church officials plan to level land at the church site to use for activities there. They eventually hope to build a new church and fellowship hall.

Bronson said leveling the land will create a drop-off at an adjacent alley and asked the city to erect a guardrail.

Rice said the guardrail would cost roughly $3,000.

Smith told the men to work with code enforcement officer Richard DiMascio to receive proper permits for the leveling work.

Smith said city officials will determine if the street department can erect the guardrail, limiting costs.

She said the city might pay for the guardrail because of safety issues.

In unrelated business, Smith said the list of people who owe property taxes is now on line at www.cityofmonessen under the link 2012 Unpaid Taxes.

“If you're on that list, we ask that you pay your taxes now,” Smith said.

Chris Buckley is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2642 or cbuckley@tribweb.com.

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