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Officials ponder downtown eyesore

| Monday, May 14, 2012, 3:33 a.m.

Mt. Pleasant Borough officials continue to debate what to do about a partially constructed building that sits in the shadow of the town's landmark doughboy statue after the owners of the property failed to show up at Monday night's council meeting.

The property, located at the corner of Diamond and Main streets, is owned, according to tax rolls, by "Barlock & Sheffler," and a person named Sheffler accepted a certified letter requesting their attendance at last night's meeting.

But according to borough Solicitor Milton Munk, there has been no communication from the owners since that time.

Council wanted to ask the owners what they plan to do with the property, which has seen no construction activity for more than a year.

As a result of the owners' failure to appear, council decided to go ahead with a previously approved motion to have borough engineer, Widmer Engineering Inc. of Connellsville, evaluate the property. Because there are several partially completed concrete block walls and piles of construction debris littering the property, council is concerned, not only about the eyesore on the Diamond at the center of town, but also about the public's safety.

"If Widmer deems it dangerous, can the borough go in and level it?" asked Councilwoman Bonnie Barber.

"If done properly, yes, but whether you want to pay to do it is another question," Munk said. "As for demolishing something, I don't think we've ever done it on our own. We always went through the county."

In other business, Councilwoman Phyllis Newell, who chairs the finance committee, said she would like council to consider taking out the parking meters on Washington Street between Church and Hitchman streets.

Newell claimed a number of the 43 double and 11 single meters are broken, and she is concerned about the cost of repairing them.

"I don't know, between that and the meter man, whether it's even feasible (to have the meters)," Newell said.

Newell also said she had been told that businesses in other towns have seen improved activity when parking meters were taken out.

Mayor Gerald Lucia noted, however, that many of the residents who live in the three-block area under discussion purchase annual parking permits at a cost of $5 each, while employees of downtown businesses buy permits to park in borough lots.

"If you take the meters off Washington Street, the residents and people who work downtown will park there and not buy permits," Lucia said.

No action was taken, but Newell said she hasn't given up on the idea and plans to research it more before bringing it back to council's attention.

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