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State, County, Local Officials Partner to Remove Public Safety Hazard in Tower City
1/10/2012
 
State and local officials gather for the start of demolition of a building at 518 E. Grand Ave. in Tower City. Pictured left to right are: Councilwoman Judy Kessler, Mayor Dan Daub, Commissioner George Halcovage, Council President Bruce Schneck, Borough Secretary Irene Dubbs, Rep. Mike Tobash, Commissioner Gary Hess, and Councilmen Bob Shuey and Harold Reiner. 
TOWER CITY – The dilapidated former Knights of Pythias building in Tower City is undergoing demolition thanks to the concerted efforts of officials at the state, county and local levels.

County and local officials worked together to make the demolition happen after a partial collapse of the building at 518 E. Grand Ave. in the borough. The work is being funded largely through the county’s demolition program, which is supported in part by state funds. Tower City borough is responsible for 25 percent of the nearly $45,000 contract.

“This is a perfect example of how we can work together to make improvements in our communities,” said State Rep. Mike Tobash (R-Schuykill/Berks). “I commend the county and Tower City officials for acting swiftly to remove this very serious public safety hazard.”

A few weeks ago, the long-deserted building partially collapsed, forcing one woman out of her home. The borough sought an emergency declaration in order to get county support for the demolition, said Gary Bender of the Schuylkill County Office of Economic Development.

“This building clearly was not only an eyesore but also a serious threat to the health and safety of residents in the area,” Bender said. “Funding this project reinforces the county’s commitment to helping our communities rid themselves of blighted and sometimes dangerous properties.”

Tower City Mayor Dan Daub said the demolition creates new opportunities for development in the borough.

“By working with our partners in state and county government, we were able to take a building that was causing serious problems in the heart of our town and turn it into a space with the potential for future residential or commercial development,” Daub said. “We are very appreciative that we were able to get the funds for the demolition and make the area around the building both safe and livable for our residents.”

The demolition work is being done by Northeast Industrial Services of Mount Carmel. The work is expected to be completed by mid-January.

Bender said the county spends approximately $80,000 to $100,000 each year on demolition of dilapidated buildings. He said the county encourages communities to enact strong maintenance codes to try to prevent the need to demolish structures.

State Representative Mike Tobash
125th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Patricia Hippler
phippler@pahousegop.com
717.772.9846
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