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The original item was published from 5/1/2015 9:14:38 AM to 7/5/2015 12:05:03 AM.

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Land Bank

Posted on: May 1, 2015

[ARCHIVED] The Land Bank Begins Work in Trafford Borough

Westmoreland Land Bank moves to demolish dilapidated building

Trafford -- The Westmoreland County Land Bank is moving to acquire a deteriorating Trafford building on the verge of collapse, intending to tear it down.

The building, at the intersection of Fifth Street and Duquesne Avenue, could come down as early as this summer.

“It’ll be swift,” April Kopas, executive director of the land bank. She was referring to demolishing the building, saying it would take a matter of months.

Originally an auto dealership owned by the Trafford Motor Co., the building has fallen into disrepair and is considered hazardous.

It was boarded up last year amid complaints from nearby homeowners and has remained on a county list of unsold properties since last summer. In February, it was condemned by the borough.

“It’s a real liability,” Mrs. Kopas said.

For its part, the land bank is working to spur redevelopment. It has acquired about a dozen properties since it was created by the county last year, including a number in Jeannette. Mrs. Kopas said. The majority are planned for demolition.

Open to considering donations, the land bank clears title and liens, Mrs. Kopas said. She added that when some people buy buildings to fix them up, they don’t realize the extent of renovations.

Trafford leaders voted unanimously at a mid-April special meeting to join the land bank, paying a one-time membership fee of $5,000.

While the Trafford building has no historical designation, it has remained something of a fixture in the borough — albeit a rickety, unsightly one.

“It’s time to create a new opportunity,” Mrs. Kopas said of tearing down the building. Noting that the borough has sought to draw attention to other blighted buildings, she said, “It’s just starting, our work in that town.”

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