Windber eying to demolish “worst” blights

Sep. 17—WINDBER, Pa. — A list of homes that have been decaying for years alongside busy Windber Borough corridors could be leveled soon.

Borough council is seeking a contractor to demolish all six condemned properties this fall, thanks to a $65,000 Department of Community and Economic Development grant.

Codes Enforcement Officer Anson Bloom said each of the homes have been vacant for at least five years, if not longer, and ranked at the top of their “target” list.

They include:

—702 17th St.

—200 22nd St.

—111 Railroad St.

—207 Railroad St.

—591 Railroad St.

—593 Railroad St.

They represent six of the 43 “most dangerous” homes or buildings the borough has been seeking to have repaired or leveled, according to Bloom. In this case, the borough has spent years trying unsuccessfully to get their codes issues corrected to no avail.

“At this point, these properties have just become an all-around nuisance for people in the neighboring properties who take care of their homes,” Borough Manager Jim Furmanchik said.

The deadline for bids is Oct. 11.

Windber’s council is working to prioritize ways the borough will spend its nearly $400,000 in American Rescue Plan funds.

With guidelines limiting how the funds can be spent and ideas such as stormwater improvements and public safety up for consideration, it’s a topic borough officials discussed Tuesday — but without agreeing on a plan to follow.

Council has scheduled a 6 p.m. meeting Wednesday to discuss the matter further.

“Sometimes it’s best just to take a step back … and give it more time,” Furmanchik said.

“For us, $400,000 sounds like a lot of money. But it can be spent a lot quicker than people might think.”

Council is also planning to discuss the status of their search for a borough manager for 2021 and beyond.

Furmanchik said seven applications were received for the job with no action taken Tuesday.