Shippenville Borough Says Goodbye to Landmark Building
(Photos by Tyler Ochs)
Located at 317 Main Street in Shippenville, the building once housed a hardware store, Dick’s Dry Cleaning, and Wallyboe’s Pizza before it deteriorated to a point that it became the subject of numerous complaints to the borough due to concerns that it could pose a hazard to the community.
Shippenville Borough Council President Linda Duffee told exploreClarion.com there had been multiple complaints about debris blowing off the building and rotting parts of the building blowing off in the wind.
According to the building’s owner, Clarion attorney Jack Troese, the demolition had been planned for earlier this year, but several issues caused delays.
“Back in September, we had the equipment delivered there and had to stop to get the proper permit,” Troese said. “We were directed to a member of the borough council to get the final approval, and he said he was fine with whatever the building inspector said.”
According to Troese, the building inspector required a letter stating that the debris from the building demolition would be removed within 30 days. Troese sent the letter out the next day, but never got a response.
“It turned out they were communicating directly with the contractor,” Troese explained.
Another hold-up occurred over a nearby property owner’s refusal to allow the contractor to use part of his property during the demolition. The contractor said they were unable to take on the project without utilizing that piece of property, and he then had to find another contractor. After Troese found a second contractor willing to take on the project, that contractor had to pull out due to a personal family situation.
Luckily, Neiswonger Construction was available to pick up the job, and the first phase where the structure was methodically torn down finally took place on Monday.
“It went way better than I thought. As you can see, there’s nothing out in the street,” said Scott Swartz, of Neiswonger Construction. “Now, for the hauling out of the many loads, just to get it all out of here.”
According to Swartz, they will begin hauling away all of the debris on Tuesday; although it may take two or three days until they can clear it all out, then they plan to fill in the basement.
“No one has complained yet, so I think everything went good,” Swartz said.
While many were sad to see a building that once housed two beloved local businesses finally come down, the many structural issues and safety concerns with the building made the demolition a moment of relief, as well.
“There isn’t much to say other than thank God it is down and almost over,” Duffee said.
“I lived in fear of a major fire like Emlenton had a few years ago. Thanks to a hard-working council who never gave up in resolving this danger and eyesore and thanks to the owners for stepping up to the plate.”
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