Demolition of downtown building scheduled for Monday

The former Floyd Howell building, also known as the Demitri building and the Mullaney building because it housed Mullaney's Shoe Store for many years, is scheduled for demolition on Monday. Located in downtown St. Marys on the corner of N. St. Marys and Center streets, the property was acquired by the city during the Elk County Judicial Sale held on June 9, which allows properties that are behind multiple years on the payment of real estate taxes to be put up for sale to the highest bidder. During the St. Marys City Council's May 16 meeting, permission was given to bid on properties at the sale so that old buildings whose taxes were in arrears would not revert to a neglected state and continue to be a blight on the area while adding nothing to the city's tax rolls. The Mullaney building, located at 43 N. St. Marys St., was acquired at the judicial sale. It was determined that left standing, the building could be a continued liability to the city, so efforts began to determine the best route to remove it.The city's redevelopment authority had been awarded $101,274 in the 2010 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding to address projects in areas designated as slum/blighted and for related spot projects. According to meeting minutes of the St. Marys City Council, the city had about $30,000 in escrow funds available for the project and the redevelopment authority agreed to put $30,000 toward the demolition. However, City Engineer Tim Brennan anticipated that demolition costs would exceed the available $50,000, so Community and Economic Development Coordinator Tina Gradizzi requested a modification of the 2010 CDBG funding in order to accommodate a total of $80,000 in demolition and clearance costs for the project. City council approved 2010 Community Development Block Grant modifications to accommodate demolition costs at its Oct. 3 meeting, and on Oct. 17 the bid for demolition was awarded to Earthmovers Unlimited, Inc. for $23,419. Following the completion of the project and after all associated costs are paid, any leftover funds will be returned to the redevelopment authority's list of projects.