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Monongahela Roundtable To Discuss Neighborhood Revitalization

Monongahela is leading the way in the fight against abandoned, run-down properties, according to state Sen. Camera Bartolotta (R-46).

There will be a roundtable discussion in the town on Tuesday evening to address the best ways communities can address the problem of blight, with Monongahela’s success at the center.

“When you go down main street in Monongahela, you cannot believe how different it is from eight years ago,” Bartolotta said. “I think there might be one, maybe two, storefronts that aren’t up and running with really cute businesses.”

She said current laws make it difficult for towns to take control of rundown properties.

“As long as a person is paying the taxes on a property, and so long as they’re paying the fines on building infringements, you can’t take the property,” she said.

The discussion will come after a tour of communities still affected by blight near the state senator’s hometown of Monongahela.

“There are about, I think, 15 different places in Donora that we’ll be driving past,” she said. “We’ll be kind of clipping through Charleroi just a little bit, and then hopefully we’ll be going through Monongahela to show what an after picture can look like.”

She said Donora is one of the towns in the area most affected by blight.

“They have no supermarket, not even a convenience store,” she said. “They don’t have a gas station and their three banks all closed in a six month period last year. So they are in dire need of attention and assistance.”

The problem not only causes economic issues for towns, but also causes safety issues, as evidenced by the higher number of 911 calls in blighted areas, according to Bartolotta.

“Blight is not just taking funds off of the tax roll because there’s a property that’s vacant, unusable,” she said. “There’s a lot of issues about dangerous conditions, buildings that might be crumbling, posing a hazard to adjoining buildings.”