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White Oak Council, Residents Discuss Blight

By Cami DiBattista
The Tube City Almanac
March 21, 2018
Posted in: White Oak News

White Oak council and residents are worried about vacant and blighted properties in the borough.

Before Monday's council meeting, a public hearing was held on whether to proceed with the demolition of a home on State Street that burned in December. Two people died in the fire.

Brian Dinkfelt, code enforcement officer, said that the property was uninhabitable and a hazard. Borough officials said the home was not insured.

Borough Solicitor Krisha DiMascio said White Oak will attempt to recoup the cost of demolition.

White Oak resident Lisa Pitchford asked council to also take action on a different property in the 1800 block of California Avenue.

“So many have been upset and concerned for way too long about this home never being torn down,” Pitchford said. “It is on the main travel road to (Francis) McClure (school), near many of the nice homes in White Oak and the park. The demolition has been discussed for many years. It’s dangerous and bringing down the value of our homes.”

Council members said the house has been on a list of properties to be demolished for two years and they are awaiting funding from a federal Community Development Block Grant to complete the project.

Councilman George Dillinger made a motion, which passed unanimously, that if the funding has not been provided by CDBG within a four-month period, that borough funds will be used to demolish the structure.

Also during the public comments section, White Oak resident Phyllis Sable, asked council that something be done about youth riding dirt bikes through her and her neighbor’s properties.

“We’ve had kids try to hit us on their bikes,” Sable said. “We’ve been threatened by the kids and their parents and I’ve had enough.”

Officials said some of the youths involved have been identified and their parents notified and that the White Oak Police Department will continue to look into the matter.

The next White Oak council workshop is slated for 6:45 p.m. April 2. An additional council workshop is scheduled for 6:45 p.m. April 16, with a council meeting to follow at 8 p.m. All meetings are open to the public.

Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer who covers Duquesne and White Oak news and other topics for Tube City Almanac.

Originally published March 21, 2018.

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