New Castle News

Editorials

April 6, 2012

Our Opinion: Debris from former Shad Hanna’s embarrasses city

NEW CASTLE — A key measurement of any successful community is its sense of pride.

How then, does one explain the lengthy delay in New Castle to clean up the former Shad Hanna’s property on the East Side?

What used to be a restaurant and nightclub facility suffered two fires, the most recent of which was Dec. 20. That blaze left the structure little more than a pile of rubble.

While the city began demolition of the site shortly after the fire, work was halted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. At issue was asbestos in the building and concerns the ongoing removal of debris could endanger the health of workers and nearby residents.

Back in early February, the New Castle News was told the issue had been resolved and demolition would continue. But it didn’t. Instead, the eyesore persists on Butler Avenue.

This scene would be bad enough anywhere in the city. But Butler Avenue also is Route 422, a main artery in and out of New Castle. Not only do residents of the area have to contend with this sight, but what impression does it give to people visiting the city?

We suppose the inaction could be defended if removal of the asbestos-laden material posed an insurmountable problem. But according to the DEP, all that’s required is wetting down the area during demolition to keep the asbestos out of the air, and covering the debris during transport to a regular landfill.

Watering down the site shouldn’t be that difficult, and state law requires all trash in trucks to be covered anyway.

If the asbestos from this burned-out building is a health problem, we doubt it’s doing the community any good just sitting there, exposed to the four winds. The appearance of the site aside, we would think the asbestos situation would prompt some action from city and state officials.

This week, another meeting took place between New Castle officials and the DEP regarding the Shad Hanna’s facility. We hope this will at last lead to meaningful action at the site.

Cleaning up this property is long overdue. It’s an embarrassment to the city.

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