Tarentum eyes 33 properties for demolition this summer
Tarentum is preparing for the demolition of at least a dozen abandoned and dilapidated buildings later this summer.
The borough recently sent 33 letters to owners of the properties; 19 came back marked “return to sender.”
Officials said the owners who did reply showed no interest in reclaiming the properties. In these situations, children of elderly or deceased parents don’t want to pay inheritance taxes or back taxes.
Code Enforcement Officer Anthony Bruni will post condemnation notices over the next 10 days.
One sticking point is possible asbestos remediation that could delay demolition. Tarentum will find out if the targeted structures have asbestos before seeking contract bids for the demolitions.
“When we find out about asbestos in late June or early July, we can send out the bid contracts that include asbestos remediation,” Borough Manager Michael Nestico said. “Bidders then don’t have to guess on removal costs. We have to go through established legal hurdles.”
Allegheny County regulations require government entities demolishing buildings to have them checked first for asbestos and, if necessary, have it removed prior to demolition.
Tarentum has $150,000 budgeted this year for demolitions.
“The goal is to tear down 33 properties,” Nestico said. “We’ll see what fits into our budget.”
Council already is talking about continuing the demolitions into next year, with financial help from the Allegheny Valley North Council of Governments.
“We can get a grant through the COG,” Councilwoman Carrie Fox said. “Other municipalities have gotten approval from Allegheny County to pay for asbestos surveys. That’s something we might want to think about for next year.”
Another source could be the federal Community Development Block Grant program, where demolition money could be obtained.
George Guido is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.