CLEARFIELD – An abandoned church collapsed Saturday night on Merrill Street in Clearfield Borough.
It collapsed just after 8 p.m. No injuries were reported as a result, according to Clearfield County 911 officials.
Clearfield Borough Council recently discussed its limited options in dealing with the church.
According to a previously-published GANT News article, Borough Operations Manager Leslie Stott said the borough was well aware of the problem and she had made several calls to the property owners.
Stott said that the property owners had been told about the problems and the borough had been trying to work with them.
However, she had made as many as six calls to the property owners in just the past week and none of the calls had been returned.
Stott said the borough had tried to e-mail, text message, call and send letters to the property owners, but they have had no response.
Stott said she had been getting many “frantic” calls from the owner of a neighboring property because the former church building was in such a state of disrepair.
Stott added that the chimney had become very unstable and was in danger of falling.
According to the previously-published article, Solicitor F. Cortez Bell III said there was very little the borough could do. He said because the building was on private property, the borough couldn’t go on to the property.
He said because the property owners were refusing to contact the borough about demolition of the property, the borough could file citations with the magistrate.
Council member Jim Kling asked if there was anything the council could do under the health and safety ordinance. He said when he had served as code enforcement officer, there were several times where he had a contractor handle the problems and had the cost of the work added on to the citation.
Bell said the property had not been condemned and the work couldn’t be claimed under public health and safety.
Code Enforcement Officer Larry Mack said the borough had been doing everything they legally could. He said citations were being issued daily and the property owners were warned months ago that these problems needed to be addressed.
In an interview with GANT News on March 19, Magisterial District Judge Mike Morris said the magistrate’s office had received one citation to date. “And, it was received today; we will process it expediently.
“This is the borough’s responsibility. My office doesn’t handle the code enforcement work. Our job is only to process the citation and sit on a hearing if one is contested.”