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33 Additional Homes Added to City's Demolition List

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
May 08, 2017
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

Above: This house on Versailles Avenue is one of 33 abandoned buildings condemned by McKeesport city council. A city will seek bids from contractors in June to tear down houses as funding permits. (Tube City Almanac photo)

More than 30 abandoned buildings --- mostly single-family homes from the early 20th century --- have been added to McKeesport's lengthy list of blighted properties to be demolished.

At last week's meeting, city council voted 7-0 to condemn 33 houses deemed by McKeesport building inspector Chris House, fire Chief Jeff Tomovcsik and ordinance officers to be unsafe and dangerous.

Mayor Mike Cherepko said the city is trying to target homes for demolition in nearly every ward. Abandoned houses are especially prevalent in the neighborhoods between Versailles Avenue and Jenny Lind Street.

"As part of our strategic plan, we act on citizen complaints and we target houses on main arteries," Cherepko said. "We tried hard to hit most of the areas of the city."

Not all of the homes added to the condemnation list will be torn down this year, said A.J. Tedesco, McKeesport community development director. A limited amount of money for blight removal is available through federal Community Development Block Grant funding, he said.

A contract will be awarded --- probably in June --- for the demolition of as many houses as funding permits, Tedesco said.

Demolishing a single-family wood-frame house in the Pittsburgh area costs $8,000 or more.

Cherepko said McKeesport public works crews are also tearing down houses with city-owned equipment as time and circumstances permit. "Our guys are still out there, demolishing homes, and we're doing emergency demolitions as well," he said.

Houses condemned last week by city council include:

  • 2815 Fifth Ave.
  • 1500 Beech St.
  • 1829 Beech St.
  • 1831 Beech St.
  • 2505 Cleveland St.
  • 2321 Colliins St. (front and rear)
  • 2408 Collins St.
  • 1103 Columbia St.
  • 1116 Craig St.
  • 1118 Craig St.
  • 2208 Cronemeyer St.
  • 518 Fawcett St.
  • 2517 Fayette St.
  • 1915 Flagler St.
  • 2931 Freeland St.
  • 1608 Grandview Ave.
  • 2725 Grandview Ave.
  • 802 Huey St.
  • 806 Huey St.
  • 808 Huey St.
  • 836 Huey St.
  • 2911 Idaho St.
  • 2321 Jenny Lind St.
  • 2325 Jenny Lind St.
  • 2593 Jenny Lind St.
  • 2100 Jenny Lind St.
  • 1922 Patterson Ave.
  • 1215 Pirl St.
  • 1220 Pirl St.
  • 2914 Stewart St.
  • 1614 Versailles Ave.
  • 2004 Versailles Ave.
  • 2005 Versailles Ave.

According to Allegheny County tax records, most of the homes are significantly tax delinquent and in some cases their owners can no longer be located.

Indeed, a check by the Almanac of the registered owners' names, using the Social Security Death Index, found that some of them have been dead for five years or more.

Originally published May 08, 2017.

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