Bradford City Council gave the OK to have 22 Main St. demolished.
The historic building was destroyed by fire April 3, and building owner Denise French has been eager to move forward with demolition due to safety concerns.
The Historical Architectural Review Board solicited opinions from two engineers on what to do with the building — both calling for demolition — before recommending to council the building be razed.
At Tuesday’s council meeting, the group voted in favor of a certificate of appropriateness for the demo. Council has agreed with HARB’s request that any architectural features that can be saved be kept for reuse.
Mayor Tom Riel noted that while HARB had considered the possibility of keeping the building’s facade, it has been “deemed not economically feasible” to keep the false storefront.
Just how the space will be used is not yet known.
However, Sara Andrews, executive director of the Office of Economic and Community Development, noted, “We do have some ideas and we’re hoping we can work out something with the owner.”
Prior to the regular council meeting, Andrews held a public hearing on the submittal of a competitive Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) program application.
Andrews explained the city has been “pretty agressive in applying” for HOME funding, receiving $5,693,018 in the past two decades. In that time, the funding has been used to rehabilitate 196 homes, build 32 new homes and provide assistance to 36 new home buyers.
HOME funding, along with other funding sources, have been instrumental in the city’s Project Pride and the ongoing Second Ward Neighborhood revitalization.
The OECD wants to apply for $500,000. They currently have about 15 people on the waiting list for assistance.
Andrews shared photos with council of improvements in a Jefferson Street neighborhood, explaining the result is “why we concentrate our efforts in one area. We can really change a street.”
In fact, regarding those housing changes, she added, “It’s how you change the neighborhood, to be honest.”
Riel added, “It’s proof it works.”
Councilman Brad Mangel noted the housing improvements have led to a change in attitude for even lifelong residents in project areas.
“They take more pride,” Mangel said. “They know something’s been done.”
Andrews said approval for the HOME application will be on the agenda at the next council meeting.
At the regular meeting, council authorized special event waivers to three East Bradford businesses who are participating Kids & Cancer Dice Run activities July 27. Waivers allowing for alcohol consumption outside on the event site — with some restrictions — were granted for JJ’s Saloon, Togi’s Family Restaurant and Togi’s Sub Station.
This year, the Kids & Cancer event will held between South Kendall Avenue and Penn Avenue on East Main Street.
Teri Cannon, city administrator, reminded residents that the city is not holding leaf pick-up right now. However, residents can bring bags of leaves to the Department of Public Works facility during business hours.
Mangel noted that he believes the Bradford Sanitary Department will be doing leaf pick-up in the fall as part of the stormwater program.
Council also appointed Alex Coppella as a temporary firefighter/EMT for the Bradford City Fire Department effective May 10 until Sept. 1, or as long as a full-time firefighter is absent.
In other fire department news, council granted a request from Chief Eric Taylor related to purchases with grant funds. They agreed to accept a quote of $4,257 plus freight charges for personal protective equipment and a quote of $7,483 and freight charges for an RIT Pak, Pak Tracker, charger and 5500 PSI cylinder. There is no local match for either grant.
Council accepted quotes to cover work related to damage from a sprinkler line break in Building G at the City’s Habgood Business Development Center, too. One quote of $39,630 to Hennard Construction is for repair of “extensive building damage,” and $3,400 to Armor Inspections LLC is to replace the sprinkler system.
Two visitors spoke at the meeting.
Pat Girard had questions about three things: a neighbor whose messy garage is encouraging animals to live in the neighborhood, the lack of plastic recycling in the city and the issue of people not maintaining the outside of their homes, such as by not painting.
Carl Sostakowski was concerned with drainage issues on Cherry Street.
Mangel said the McKean County Republican Committee is holding a Meet the Candidates event from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the Bradford Area Public Library.
The next council meeting is set for 7 p.m. May 28.