Eight years after fire, Washington lot rehab to begin

September 13, 2017
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The burned-out shell of the former Salsberry Bump Shop on Donnan Avenue in Washington after the building was destroyed by fire in 2009 Order a Print
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Holly Tonini/Observer-Reporter
Remediation work is scheduled to begin at the end of the month at 443-445 Donnan Ave., eight years after a fire destroyed a building at the location. Order a Print

More than eight years after fire destroyed a former Packard dealership and automobile repair shop, the lot on which it stood is scheduled for remediation.

Work should commence on the former Salsberry Bump Shop site at 443-445 Donnan Ave., Washington, by the end of the month, Christy Bean Rowing, executive director of the Washington Citywide Development Corp., informed Washington City Council on Monday.

Reynolds Contracting will remove the soil, which could have been contaminated by petroleum, and the CDC will have it tested. Approval from the Environmental Protection Agency is required for any development there to proceed.

According to Rob Phillips, Redevelopment Authority of Washington County assistant community development director, the lots could be sold to a nonprofit organization that develops affordable housing for construction of two houses.

A $50,000 EPA Brownfield Revolving Loan grant distributed by the redevelopment authority will fund remediation work.

The former Salsberry Bump Shop was razed by the city after three juveniles set fire to it in April 2009. The Salsberry family donated the 100-foot-by-250-foot lot to the CDC in 2016 in lieu of paying back taxes.

In other business, Phillips informed council the city will receive $570,000 in Community Development Block Grants in 2018 – the same amount received in 2017. The CDBG program is an investment of federal funds to allow municipalities to pursue economic development projects and improve communities.

About $230,000 of the city’s allocation is committed to bond payments, leaving $340,000 for officials to make community improvements.

Previous allocations have been used for home rehabilitation, code enforcement demolition and for the purchase of a fire truck, which was paid in full with the 2016 allocation.

Council discussed using the funds for Catfish Creek remediation and as a match toward the local share account distribution.

Phillips asked council to decide what projects they’d like to pursue by November.

City council meets at 7 p.m. Thursday in City Hall.

Natalie Reid Miller has been with the Observer-Reporter since 2013. A native of Burgettstown, she primarily covers Washington and surrounding communities. Natalie has a writing degree from the University of Pittsburgh.

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