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Updated 14 hours ago
An environmental study will help determine the appropriate reuse of a former Mt. Pleasant glass factory by assessing the level of any residual contaminants.
The study will determine what, if any, glass-making hazards remain on the vacant brownfield site, said April Kopas, director of the Redevelopment Authority of Westmoreland County. The results will be shared with borough council.
“We want to make sure we get them that proper due diligence,” Kopas said. “Hopefully then, it's more marketable at the end of the day.”
It has been a long process to evaluate the properties, which are located behind American Architectural Salvage, along railroad tracks and South Depot and Bridgeport streets. Council in 2008 accepted a donation of the property from the Levin family, which operates a Main Street furniture store.
Buildings on the site had been used as a warehouse for the family's business and, before that, as the Bryce Brothers glass plant. An arson fire in 1998 destroyed the warehouse, which had been mostly emptied after the Levins built another facility elsewhere.
Bryce Brothers was established in Mt. Pleasant in 1896 and made hand-blown glass. It became part of Lenox Crystal in the mid-1900s.
The borough has control of about nine acres there, and the county is guiding local officials through the process and providing grant funding, Kopas said. Testing and reports are being funded by a grant through the Environmental Protection Agency. Kopas estimated the total cost at about $80,000.
The challenge in marketing the site has been determining the level of environmental contaminants, she said.
It's the only part of Mt. Pleasant that remains undeveloped, borough manager Jeff Landy said. The project would have been difficult to tackle without the county's help, he said.
“It's expensive, and it takes time,” Landy said.
Nearby resident Bob Karfelt, who owns RKN Trucking, wants to buy a portion of the land to build a garage for his business. He discussed the matter with council this week. Karfelt parks his trucks there with the borough's permission and maintains the lot.
“My whole goal, plan, is to wait for the report” and forge ahead with purchasing the property, Karfelt said. “I've been trying for five years or more.”
Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-837-5374 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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