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Work at former Jeannette Glass site to get check by state, local officials

Renatta Signorini
| Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, 11:54 a.m.
Weeds cover the ground at the former Jeannette Glass plant as plans for cleanup and development get underway with a groundbreaking in Jeannette on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.
Dan Speicher | Tribune-Review
Weeds cover the ground at the former Jeannette Glass plant as plans for cleanup and development get underway with a groundbreaking in Jeannette on Wednesday, May 31, 2017.
Demolition of buildings at the former Jeannette Glass site begins Friday, Aug. 25, 2017.
Submitted
Demolition of buildings at the former Jeannette Glass site begins Friday, Aug. 25, 2017.
Environmental issues remain to be addressed at the former Jeannette Glass site.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Environmental issues remain to be addressed at the former Jeannette Glass site.

Nearly four months after they broke ground on the site , state and local officials will visit the former Jeannette Glass plant Friday to outline the ongoing demolition and remediation work.

Work is set to be completed at the end of November under a $478,000 agreement with AW McNabb LLC of McKees Rocks.

“That contractor has, over the last 30 days, really ramped up operations,” said Jason Rigone, director of the county's Industrial Development Corp.

Meanwhile, a consultant is testing the soil to determine the next step in the $6 million project, he said. The project is being funded in part by state and local dollars.

Patrick McDonnell, secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, will join local officials Friday at the defunct glass plant. An accidental fire was extinguished there Wednesday afternoon.

Fire Chief Vance Phillips said pallets and insulation materials ignited when demolition crews were using torches to remove metal from inside buildings. Firefighters used about 300 feet of hose to reach the area because of the amount of debris at the site, Phillips said. They had it under control within 40 minutes.

“Logistics getting to the site with the debris was a problem,” Phillips said. “There was a lot of smoke, but there were no injuries.”

The IDC bought the 13-acre property in 2012 for $305,000 at a tax sale. Years of court challenges over the validity of the sale filed by New York businessman Abraham Zion stymied development plans. Zion purchased the factory for $4 million 1983 and let it sit dormant for decades. He died in 2016.

After the state Supreme Court upheld the sale, the parties reached a settlement last year that allowed the county to take over in September 2016 . A groundbreaking ceremony was held in late May.

Workers with AW McNabb have been removing asbestos-contaminated pieces of buildings for much of the summer and then razing the structures .

“They've completely demolished a number of buildings in the front of the property,” Rigone said.

The property is littered with remnants of glass production, much of it contaminated with asbestos.

Future phases include removing building foundations and footers, excavation, compacting soil, planting grass, extending utilities and building a road. The project could be completed in late 2018.

Officials expect that once other businesses occupy the site, it will generate an estimated $150,000 to $250,000 in annual property taxes and create as many as 160 jobs.

Staff writer Paul Peirce contributed. Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374, rsignorini@tribweb.com or via Twitter @byrenatta.

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