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Council OKs CDBG project list for 2013-14

| Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013, 12:09 p.m.
Penn Hills Progress
Above, a vacant property at 7116 Doak Street, which is slated for demolition. Several homes on Doak are coming down as part of the Community Development Block Grant action plan for 2013-'14, recently approved by Penn Hills council members. PATRICK VARINE PHOTO
Penn Hills Progress
Above, Bon Air Park, seen from above on Tremont Street. PATRICK VARINE PHOTO

Tyrone Kemp can sit on his front porch and enjoy an excellent view of the Allegheny Valley from his home on Doak Street.

That view is tempered a bit by the presence of multiple vacant properties on his street, but it might not be that way for long.

At Penn Hills Council's Jan. 22 meeting, municipal officials gave unanimous approval to the 2013-14 Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, application and action plan, which includes several groups of properties slated for demolition.

One such group includes properties on Doak Street, situated on a steep slope in west Penn Hills, near its border with the City of Pittsburgh.

“We've got to get some of them down,” said Kemp, 64. “You have varmints in there that end up tearing up my trash, and they're certainly an eyesore.”

A property at 7107 Doak Street is already gone, and at least three other properties have been identified for demolition, one of which resulted from a complaint that Kemp made.

The street has not been a trouble spot for police, however. Police incident reports since the start of 2012 show only six calls to the area, one for a report of a car theft, but mostly for minor incidents such as stray animals or suspicious persons.

Some of the properties have been vacant for a year or more, and Kemp said one home, near the beginning of the 7000 block of Doak Street, has been vacant for at least a decade.

Some demolition packages already have been bid out, and the action plan approved by council has $50,000 budgeted for town-wide demolition.

Following a recent discussion session with council, planning officials increased the overall allocation for local food banks while decreasing the allocation for the Western Penn Hills youth employment program.

Highlights of the proposed plan include:

• $50,000 for work in the area of Bon Air Park, off of Tremont Street. Planning director Howard Davidson said his office plans to hold discussions with residents in the area to map out the future of the park.

• $49,000 total allocated to food pantries run by the Penn Hills Service Association, Lincoln Park Community Center and Jefferson Manor.

• $150,000 for street improvements.

• $100,000 for sidewalk improvements.

• $90,000 for improvements to the Penn Hills Multi-Purpose Center and the Lincoln Park Community Center.

Patrick Varine is an editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7845 or pvarine@tribweb.com.

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