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Connellsville's 'sky toilet' coming down

| Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013, 8:42 a.m.

One of the dilapidated buildings in Connellsville, which houses what has become known as the “sky toilet,” is coming down ... partially.

The structure, at 105-107 W. Crawford Ave., is owned by Rodney Allen. But Allen is in the hospital, following a traffic accident, according to his nephew Josh DeWitt.

Allen has a demolition permit due to expire on Aug. 7. He had workers at the site on Wednesday.

The side of the building has a hole, visible from the corner of West Crawford Avenue and South Pittsburgh Street, that revealed a second-floor toilet.

DeWitt said plans call for the demolition of the back and top floors of the structure. The first floor(s) will be rehabilitated, housing office space, and a “green” roof will be installed, which will be easily visible to drivers coming down the hill on East Crawford.

DeWitt said he and Connellsville Councilman Brad Geyer have been working together on the concept.

Geyer said the idea of updating an old building is “an exciting development for the City of Connellsville. It shows that code enforcement, city council and property owners can work together.”

According to Tom Currey, Connellsville's code and zoning officer, the city has been seeking to have Allen either fix or demolish the building. The actions started after a fire in the building, according to a police report dated July 24, 2008. The city health board ordered demolition of the structure on July 31, 2008.

Initially, Allen and the health board had worked out an agreement over four properties he owns. Allen was to fix or demolish them one at a time, but the board grew impatient with the pace of the work, Currey said.

Allen was cited, then got a city permit to demolish the building in 2012. That permit expired. Allen then got a county permit. That demolition permit is set to expire on Aug. 7.

“If it isn't down by Aug. 7, then he (Allen) will be cited,” said Currey when told that demolition work had started on the building.

Geyer said he was not sure about the “technical questions” involved with the expiration of the demolition permit.

On Wednesday, workers were taking off the back of the structure at 105 W. Crawford Ave., which includes the toilet.

Karl Polacek is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at kpolacek@tribweb.com or 724-626-3538.

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