Plans are underway to demolish the abandoned Brownsville General Hospital and the Horner Memorial Nurses’ Home, in what officials hope will be another step toward the borough’s revitalization.
Council member Tracy Zivkovich has been working with the Redevelopment Authority of Fayette County and the county commissioners on having the structures on Church Street demolished.
“When you think about Church Street, most of the buildings are very well maintained, but then we have these two huge blighted buildings,” Zivkovich said.
The original Brownsville General Hospital was built in 1914. The facility on the 22,669 square-foot lot was operational until 1985. The nursing school was built in 1928 across the street from the hospital and also closed in 1985 on a 14,589 square-foot lot.
Andrew French, the executive director of the redevelopment authority, said they asked the commissioners for $147,300 from the Act 152 county demolition fund, and are looking for other funding through the Community Development Block Grant program.
French said they approved a contract with K2 Engineering to put together plans for the project, and will then have a better idea how much the demolition will cost. It will also determine if they focus on one building at a time, or are able to raze both.
“We intend to put it out to bid sometime early 2020,” French said.
French added that once that decision is made, then he’ll have to go to the county and request the properties be removed from the county’s repository to be placed in the redevelopment authority’s name because the properties were not purchased through an upset sale or free and clear sale. He said the authority will also need permission to move forward from the state, as the buildings are a part of a National Historic District and because CDBG funds are going to be used for the project.
Zivkovich said she’s hopeful the demolition will begin in early spring. She said doing so will leave the lots open for anything from a new business to housing.
“I think this continues to layer our steps of development,” she said. “It will increase property values as well as opportunities for some new traffic flow.”