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Another Big “Whew!” in Manchester

Staff Blogs

by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Wednesday, 02 June 2010 4:27 PM

Some people make the trek down to Grant or Ross Street for a zoning, planning or historic-review hearing and leave frustrated because the case was continued or the agenda was packed and half their day was spent waiting in a hot room.  But today, the room was bearable and a long Historic Review Commission agenda was drastically pruned by a request Councilman Daniel Lavelle made to the Bureau of Building Inspections.

“Councilman Lavelle asked for a hold on all the demolition projects in Manchester,” said the BBI’s acting chief John Jennings.  Today, that spared 1302, 1326 and 1328 Adams Street, 1516 Chateau Street and the perennial poster-house for dodging the wrecking ball, 1218 N. Franklin Ave.  All were up for demolition consideration.  (Manchester, as one of the city’s historic districts, comes under scrutiny by the commission, which is supposed to make decisions to keep the historical integrity of the district intact.  In Manchester’s case, it seems that the commission’s biggest challenge is keeping the district itself intact.)

Stanley Lowe, who has become the managing director of the Manchester Citizens Corp., told the commission today that the owner of the Franklin property “was supposed to be here.”  Mr. Lowe promised a community barn-raising of sorts to shore up the Franklin property late in the winter, a one-day extravaganza of rehab that has not happened yet.

Two other owners with almost-doomed houses did show up before the commission, explaining their efforts to work as they can with the money they can save to keep their properties.  Daphnie Milam is fighting damage from a March fire at the house she owns on Chateau and left the meeting buoyed by the moritorium on demolitions.

“I was a nervous wreck!” she said.  She has a building permit, a structural engineer and a contractor and is “just waiting for the insurance company to finalize the paperwork.”

Walkabout hopes to follow up with Daphnie and follow the saga of the demolition list, of which Councilman Lavelle wrote in an email:

“Due to Manchester’s historical nature and the painstaking process of the last few years to work towards its revitalization, it is in a positive light that I view and support the moratorium on demolition.  This will allow the community to take the necessary next steps to take hold of the reigns of its future and guide it in a direction of greatest benefit to its principal stakeholders, the citizens and residents of Manchester.”

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633