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Duquesne Partnering With Auberle to Clean Up Blighted Properties

By Cami DiBattista
The Tube City Almanac
March 15, 2018
Posted in: Duquesne News

Correction: A story on Feb. 19 had the spelling of Jade Burleigh's name incorrect. The original story has been corrected and we apologize for the error. 

Duquesne is partnering with McKeesport-based Auberle this summer to provide employment to young adults and clean up blighted and abandoned properties.

Auberle will offer work for up to 100 participants between ages 14 and 24 clearing blight, Duquesne Mayor Nickole Nesby said this week.

Those interested should sign up with Tim Kelly at (412) 673-5800 or contact the city. The deadline to register is March 31.

The program is part of the administration’s effort to address blighted properties in Duquesne.

Nesby said she recently attended a meeting at the Turtle Creek Valley Council of Governments where blight in Allegheny County was discussed.

Living next to a blighted home decreases the value of your property an average of 6.7 percent, Nesby said.

Duquesne is working with the Heinz Endowments to recruit someone to develop a strategy for dealing with vacant and blighted houses in the city, and develop a comprehensive plan to eliminate them, she said.

In other business, city council has asked state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale to investigate the city's finances.

Editor's Note: Earlier this month, the city sued the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Duquesne and the non-profit Duquesne Business Advisory Corp.

The city's lawsuit alleges that the redevelopment authority transferred approximately $1.4 million of its $1.5 million revolving loan fund to the business advisory corporation in what the lawsuit calls an "illegal attempt to dissolve the authority" and to strip Nesby and city council of their power to administer the funds.


During the public comment section of the meeting, resident Dontae Parrish asked about the levels of lead in Duquesne’s water, which he said "tastes terrible." Parrish asked what council is doing to address water quality in the city.

Council assured Parrish that lead levels, which are regularly tested by the state Department of Environmental Protection, are in compliance but that efforts are currently being taken to improve water quality in Duquesne.

More than $400,000 in grant money has been provided to the city to address the issue of poor water circulation, and city engineer David Gilliland said several waterlines are scheduled for replacement. In addition, new water pumps are expected to be installed soon.

Resident Burton Comensky told council that he believes that his property located at 32 S. 6th St. --- which is scheduled to be demolished next week --- was unlawfully confiscated from him by the city after a sheriff’s sale on the property fell through.

Comensky said he received no eviction notice and feels the property should be returned to him until a proper sheriff’s sale can be completed. He asked that council rescind the demolition.

A motion to rescind the demolition failed, but Nesby said the city's solicitor will look into the matter to see if anything can be done.

During the Accounts and Youth Services report, Councilwoman Fawn McDaniel stated that all openings for the Duke City Youth Council have been filled. A family meet and greet at City Hall is slated for 6:30 p.m. March 23. Both parents and members are required to attend.

Additionally, the site supervisor position for the Duquesne Youth Athletic Association’s Summer Food Program has been filled. The program will begin in June. More details will be provided closer to the opening date.

Council voted 5-0 to allow the DYAA the use of Polish Hill Fields and the concession stand for the upcoming baseball season. Dates and times for use will be Mondays through Fridays, March 13 to July 1, from 4 to 10 p.m.

Councilman Timothy Caldwell reported he is researching resources to build an outdoor gym facility for Duquesne to encourage residents to get fit and be active.

Council by 5-0 vote appointed Alan Chiesi as the Right to Know Officer of Duquesne and appointed Councilman Timothy Caldwell and City Controller Jade Burleigh to represent Duquesne at monthly Steel Rivers Council of Governments meetings.

Originally published March 15, 2018.

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