In the News

Cottage gets another reprieve

By SANDRA K. REABUCK for the Tribune Democrat
October 30, 2009

CRESSON — Cresson Township is backing off from immediately demolishing the crumbling Braemar-Jones Cottage even through a Cambria County judge refused Thursday to grant a stay on the razing.

Township Solicitor Gerald Neugebauer said it would not be good from a legal standpoint to move ahead now because of the appeal filed by the Cresson Area Historical Association with the state Commonwealth Court.

“With the matter in Commonwealth Court, we do not feel comfortable proceeding with the demolition. Unfortunately, we’ll lose the offer to have (the demolition) done at little or no cost. This may cost the township $10,000 (for the eventual razing),” Neugebauer said.

He anticipates, however, that a court will require the association to post $10,000 bond to cover the cost in the event its appeal fails.

The township had an offer “for a short period of time” from a private citizen – who wishes to remain anonymous – to pay a demolition contractor “the estimated bargain price of $1,000” to raze the structure while the contractor has equipment in the area, the solicitor has said.

On Tuesday, county Judge David Tulowitzki rejected the association’s attempt to halt demolition of the historic house until after Nov. 15. The association then filed a notice of appeal. The judge said Nov. 15 is the deadline for the township to have the cottage razed in light of his January declaration that the property is a public nuisance as a fire/safety hazard. The cottage was built the late 1800s.

Brenda Kalwasinski, association president, said she is relieved the historical group will have more time to find funds to restore the cottage.

“We’re hoping we’ll soon know more about the grant we we are seeking. Hopefully we’ll know something in a day or two,” Kalwasinski said.

The association has said that it hopes to obtain a $150,000 grant for work on the structure, but the township maintains that even if the grant is received, the money still would be insufficient to abate the nuisance.

In a related development Thursday, Ebensburg attorney Tim Burns, who represents the association, said the group had been able to raise $10,000 cash.

Late Thursday afternoon, Burns filed a motion asking Tulowitzki to reconsider his denial of a stay because of the group’s ability to post the

$10,000 cash/bond with the court.

Staff writer Kathy Mellott contributed to this story.