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Asbestos removal, demolition in progress on Monsour eyesore in Jeannette

Rich Cholodofsky
| Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
Demolition moves along by Dore & Associates Contracting Inc. on the Monsour Medical Center along Route 30 in Jeannette on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
Demolition moves along by Dore & Associates Contracting Inc. on the Monsour Medical Center along Route 30 in Jeannette on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015.
Demolition moves along by Dore & Associates Contracting Inc. on the Monsour Medical Center along Route 30 in Jeannette on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015.
Evan Sanders | Trib Total Media
Demolition moves along by Dore & Associates Contracting Inc. on the Monsour Medical Center along Route 30 in Jeannette on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015.

Demolition of the former Monsour Medical Center in Jeannette is finally under way, nearly a decade after the hospital was abandoned.

Westmoreland County officials on Tuesday announced that work has started to tear down the deteriorated facility along Route 30 that became a dangerous eyesore for the community and a target for thieves, vandals and arsonists.

“The city is very excited by the news, and we're looking forward to having visible improvement of the site,” said Jeannette solicitor Scott Avolio.

In October, county commissioners awarded a $1.1 million contract to Dore & Associates of Michigan to remove asbestos and other hazardous materials on the 6.4-acre site.

When the owners shuttered the complex in 2006 after failed state inspections, they left behind equipment, furnishings, patient records and medical waste in the hospital and several smaller buildings.

Jason Rigone, executive director of the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp., which is overseeing the demolition, said removal of asbestos from two buildings near Pennsylvania Avenue has been completed.

The buildings contained asbestos floor tiles and adhesives that had to be removed before the structures could be torn down. Asbestos removal on the main facility's distinctive multistory tower will continue as demolition begins on the smaller buildings, Rigone said.

“We'll be taking the buildings down, piece by piece. There may be a road closure when the tower is taken down,” Rigone said.

No explosives will be used in the demolition, he said.

Work to demolish the tower is expected to begin in January, and the site could be cleared of debris by the end of March, he said.

The hospital was built in the 1950s by four Monsour brothers, all doctors, and was run for years by a private board of directors. Operators closed it a half-century later when the facility failed state inspections.

Last year, the county land bank purchased the property for $15,172 at a tax sale.

The land bank will remediate the site and market the property for redevelopment.

Rich Cholodofsky is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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