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Council OKs shifting funds to raze two eyesores

The ruins of a fire-damaged house and a former tavern that have become a neighborhood nuisance are in the Lackawanna City Council's sights for demolition.

Agreeing Monday night to the mayor's request to demolish the structures at 3305 South Park Ave. and 105 Holbrook St., lawmakers also approved the comptroller's request to transfer $50,000 from the current budget's fund balance to the demolition budget to pay for it.

"These buildings are just so bad," said 2nd Ward Councilman Geoffrey M. Szymanski.

The coolers at the former tavern, once known as Farmer's Inn, have been ransacked and the pool table damaged, Szymanski said. Squatters also have been known to inhabit an upstairs apartment in the building, which has been the scene of fires.

Currently assessed at $67,000, the structure reportedly is owned by a former area resident who moved out of state. The owner's name couldn't be learned Monday night.

Demolition costs, estimated at $48,000 to $52,000, include asbestos abatement and would be added to unpaid taxes.

A tavern operated in that building on and off for the past several years, closing for good approximately two years ago, officials said. A sign still on the building identifies it as RJ's Port.

Meanwhile, the single-family home at 105 Holbrook is infested with vermin, according to 1st Ward Councilwoman Andrea Haxton. Built in 1930, the structure was damaged by fire several years ago.

With a current assessment of just $5,000, it could cost more than twice that to demolish it. Public Works Commissioner Thomas J. Love estimated the work at $10,000 to $12,000.

The identity of that property's owner wasn't immediately available.

e-mail: jhabuda@buffnews.com

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