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Hearing set on using $20,000 grant to restore Greensburg Union Trust Building

Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
An exterior of the Union Trust Building at the corner of Main street and Otterman Street taken on July 16, 2013, in downtown Greensburg

About Bob Stiles
Picture Bob Stiles 724-836-6622
Staff Reporter
Tribune-Review

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A look back

The Union Trust Building was erected in 1921 on the site of the Null House, a Greensburg hotel once owned by Harrison Null and then Levi Portzer.

It was a popular place to stay because it was only steps away from the Westmoreland County Courthouse.

The Union Trust Company formed in 1921 and erected the building after purchasing the Null House property. It opened for business about a year later.

The building for many years had a corner clock that became a fixture in town, along with the more visible clock at the top of the former Westmoreland County Jail behind the courthouse.

After the Depression began in 1929, Union Trust merged into First National Bank in 1931. First National Bank became one of two banks that survived the Depression. It was later known as Southwest Bank and more recently as First Commonwealth Bank.

Since 1931, the building has been used for offices.

In November 2004, the Westmoreland Cultural Trust purchased the Union Trust Building from Red Oak Associates LLP, and in September of 2005 relocated the trust administration office to 102 N. Main Street.

Source: Westmoreland Cultural Trust


By Bob Stiles

Published: Thursday, July 18, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

Westmoreland Cultural Trust officials hope to soon begin the next phase of restoration on the historic Union Trust Building in downtown Greensburg, according to President Michael Langer.

“We're optimistic we can start it by the fall,” he said.

Westmoreland County officials are looking to earmark $20,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds to the cultural trust for the project, said Jason Rigone, county planning director.

Workers will repair and repoint brick and replace deteriorated doors and glass windows on a section of the building facing the Palace Theatre and Wilcox Way.

A hearing has been scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 7 in the main conference room of the county planning and development office to review the funding.

The work represents the second phase of restoration plans, Langer said.

About two years ago, the trust received $84,000 in community development funds and a facade improvement grant through the City of Greensburg to replace windows, clean the building's exterior and do other work on the sides of the building facing North Main and West Otterman streets, Langer and Rigone said.

Before the latest work starts, the project will undergo a review by the Greensburg Historic and Architectural Review Board, Langer said.

“The city is restoring itself ... and we're trying to do our part,” Langer said.

At the same time, S&T Trust is continuing work for its move into the Union Trust Building.

The investment and financial arm of the banking business replaces Stage Right! as a tenant in the historic structure. Stage Right! moved to the former 4th Ward school on West Fourth Street in Greensburg.

S&T is paying for the interior changes for its operations and expects to be done by late summer, Langer said.

A Sept. 1 move-in date has been scheduled.

Langer said he has no problem accepting taxpayer funding to improve the Union Trust Building. Many of the cultural trust's activities benefit the public, he said.

“We feel it's a good use of public money — culturally, aesthetically and economically,” Langer said.

Bob Stiles is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-6622 or bstiles@tribweb.com.

 

 
 


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