Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Removal of Asbestos at North Side Church Preceding Demolition

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Removal of Asbestos at North Side Church Preceding Demolition

Article excerpt

Asbestos is being removed from the former St. Nicholas Church in preparation for demolition of the historic Troy Hill landmark, which representatives of the city, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation met recently to plan.

Diocese spokesman the Rev. Ronald Lengwin said the demolition has not been scheduled because it is not known how long asbestos removal will take: "It's not going to happen for a while."

When the church does come down, lane closures may result because traffic on Route 28 is just a sidewalk away from the towering brick structure. PennDOT spokesman Jim Struzzi said the demolition is unlikely to conflict with the state's highway construction, but the city will be responsible for coordinating traffic flow past the church during the tear-down.

The city granted the church historic status in 2001. Three years later, the parish in Millvale consolidated the Troy Hill congregation and began fighting efforts to save the old structure. PennDOT shifted its expansion of Route 28 to go around the church in 2008. At that point, the Preserve Croatian Heritage Foundation had raised $60,000 to begin plans for the building's reuse as a museum.

The foundation also paid to secure the building and make minor repairs.

For years, preservationists went back and forth with the parish over the church's future. Parish representatives argued that the vacant church was draining it of money that it needed for upkeep of the Millvale church and that it was a safety hazard.

The preservation group contracted its own study that determined it to be structurally sound and a feasibility study that indicated the building could viably be used as an immigrant museum.

After several suitors bowed out of deals to buy the church, the Northside Leadership Conference, in support of the preservation group, offered $1 for it, pending a survey to determine whether the hillside was stable. …

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