GREENVILLE, Pa. (WYTV) – There was a detailed and frank discussion in Greenville Thursday night about the status of a 200-foot section of Main Street that has been closed for two months due to a condemned building.
Residents have questioned whether the closure of the road was necessary, but borough officials say the building is in worse shape than many people suspected, and there is no plan in place to fix it.
The meeting room of Greenville Borough Council was standing-room only on Thursday, as Director of Public Services Lyle Huffman explained how structural issues at the former N.N. Moss building forced the closing of a section of Main Street.
“The building’s coming down. It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when,” he said.
To prove his point, Huffman was joined by Gary Scott, an engineer at the Pittsburgh firm of Buchart Horn, Inc.
Together, they examined the Moss building a week ago. Scott pointed to cracks in the exterior, and pictures were shown of the main support beam, how it’s cracked and has fallen six feet and how the east wall is totally detached from the building and is bowing and crumbling. The pictures also show a hole in the interior ceiling that is so big daylight shines through.
Scott circulated a report stating the Moss building is “in imminent threat of significant partial or total failure.”
Scott said the building poses a significant risk to pedestrians and vehicles in the streets.
“Our recommendation, the quickest way to address it is to take the building down,” he said.
The audience — some of whom were Main Street business owners — could only sit and listen, many seemingly unaware of the deplorable and dangerous state of the Moss building. But, they say, their businesses are struggling as a result of the closure.
“Main Street’s been closed for 64 days. How come it’s taken so long to get a third opinion? I mean we’re dying,” said John Rizzo of the Greenville Shoe Hospital.
The shop owners asked for plans moving forward.
“I want to know what hope myself and the rest of the business owners have in Greenville going forward. What’s the time frame? What are we planning to do at this point?” asked Trudy Morimando, owner of the Greenville H&R Block.
To that question, Greenville Solicitor Jim Douglas could only say there is no plan in place. Borough officials have been working with David Ho, who manages the building for his relatives. But since it’s privately owned — and without any money — the borough in powerless to have it torn down.
Ho was not at Thursday’s meeting, but he was present at a rally on Wednesday, and he told WYTV that he has plans to demolish it.
“My hope is that before the end of the year is out, this building should be down,” he had said.