Local municipalities can now submit applications that identify demolition projects to reduce blight throughout Westmoreland County. Officials said the county has banked more than $260,000 to fund the new program to eliminate vacant and dilapidated structures. The money was raised through a $15 fee assessed to deed and mortgage filings.
“We are fortunate Westmoreland County is a beautiful place with many thriving communities; however, we recognize the need to address distressed areas in a direct and proactive manner,” Commissioner Gina Cerilli said. “My commissioner colleagues and I want to make sure resources are available countywide to support our municipalities in the removal of structures impacting our neighborhoods and their property values.”
Applications from municipalities seeking to identify structures targeted for demolition will be accepted through the end of the year. Properties must be owned by or controlled by the municipalities and considered to be blighted, said Janet Thomas, deputy director of the county’s community development division of the Department of Planning.
A committee of county planners and development officials will review the applications. In April, commissioners will identify properties that will be demolished. Thomas said the county will allocate up to $25,000 toward the cost of demolishing each property.