North Franklin fire department offers property for township building

October 31, 2013
North Franklin Township fire Chief Dave Bane makes a proposal Wednesday to provide land next to the fire hall to the community as a site for a new municipal building. - Scott Beveridge / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

The North Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company made a pitch Wednesday to sell land beside the fire hall to the township for $1 to be used for construction of a badly needed new municipal building.

The offer outlined by fire Chief Dave Bane was coolly received by about a dozen neighbors, who worried that putting a police department in the residential area would be a bad fit.

Supervising Chairman Alex Migyanko said the township needs to decide soon what to do about the aging building, which has many code problems and needs costly renovations to make it comply with the federal Americans with Disability Act.

“There is nothing etched in stone,” Migyanko said at a special township meeting held at the fire hall on Sylvan Drive, adding he called the meeting to gather input on the proposal from the neighborhood.

The township had a June 25 architectural inspection performed on the 52-year-old building after receiving an ADA complaint from Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living, a Washington organization that advocates for the civil rights of those with disabilities.

The inspection revealed black mold in the police station and an electrical service panel situated too close to a bathroom toilet, as well as other code problems. There are raised thresholds and other issues out of compliance with the ADA.

“We have some major issues,” Migyanko said.

RSSC Architecture of Wexford recommended construction of a new $800,000 building rather than spending nearly $400,000 to correct the problems at the existing building on Franklin Farms Road.

The township has a formed a building committee, which has looked at several locations for a new building, including Washington Crown Center mall and property owned by Consol Energy, without much success.

In other business, the township postponed for two weeks a police report on the investigation into records that turned up missing this year in the township building.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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