By Kaylee Lindenmuth
SHENANDOAH - The battle against blight continues in our region, as long-abandoned properties in the region are slowly being demolished, thanks to a county program.
One year ago, a $1.4 million grant was awarded to Schuylkill County to fund demolition projects in the area.
The grant funds the Schuylkill County Demolition Program, which funds the demolition of blighted properties acquired by municipalities and submitted to the program.
In Shenandoah, two properties on a list submitted by the borough in July have been completely demolished, and county commissioners have already green-lit ten other projects in the borough.
In October, County Commissioner's approved the demolition of 520 West Mount Vernon Street, 401-403 West Oak Street, and combined properties at West Coal and North Race Streets, with all projects undertaken by Kass's Contracting at a combined cost of $46,400.
By December, the properties at West Mount Vernon and West Oak Streets were mere empty lots, while the Race Street properties, the subject of a four-year legal battle, remained standing.
At the November 15 meeting of the Schuylkill County Commissioners, another round of Shenandoah properties were approved for demolition, including a downtown property damaged by fire, and an east-end property which caught fire in 2014 and 2016.
At the meeting, Kass's Contracting was awarded the contract to demolish the following properties at a combined cost of $250,090:
Since early December, an excavator has sat to a property damaged twice by fire at North Union and East Centre Streets.
As of the writing of this article, all properties approved for demolition in November, as well as the Race Street property, still stand, awaiting demolition.
Four properties in Mahanoy City were also approved for demolition in November through the county program as well.
AMC Enterprises of Frackville received the contract to demolish two Mahanoy properties, located at 600-602 West Railroad Street, and 612 West South Street, at a combined cost of $24,278. Kass's Contracting was awarded the contract for demolition of properties at 1115-1119 East Pine Street and 412 West Mahanoy Street at the combined cost of $46,950.