Last updated: October 02. 2013 11:54PM - 1223 Views
GERI GIBBONS Times Leader Correspondent

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HAZLETON — City residents and councilwoman Jean Mope expressed concerns regarding debris remaining on a property after the demolition of a structure there after a fire.

Residents said there were reports of mice and rats on the McKinley Street property.

Grace Cuozzo, addressing council, said she believed money from the Community Development Block Grant Program should be directed toward removal of remaining rubble. The project should be made a priority because of safety issues, she said.

Council president James Perry said the issue was not quite so clear cut. Even if funds were available via the block grant program, he said, relevant legal issues would need to be addressed. The city doesn’t own the property, so there are questions as to whether the city has the authority to remove the debris.

“Fallon Fermin, our community development director, will be looking into this matter further and reporting back to council,” said Perry. “If necessary, she will consult with our solicitor.”

In another matter, council approved a second reading of the Community Development Block Grant budget for 2014; a final reading and vote are required for its adoption.

Council also approved a resolution accepting new playground equipment from Valmont Nemark Inc. for the West Court Playground in the Heights area. Larry Birch, general manager of the company, said more than $23,000 was spent on items such as slides and climbing apparatus.

Councilman Kevin Schadder said the donation showed a strong sense of community partnership and would greatly benefit area residents.

Hazleton council’s next meeting is scheduled for 5:30 pm. Oct. 17.

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