JEANNETTE (KDKA) — Driving east on Route 30, Jeanette is the gateway to Westmoreland County, but unfortunately the first sight you see is a massive eyesore, the former Monsour Medical Center, a rusted, empty husk of a building.
“This is unfortunate for the beautiful county we live in to have this site be one of the welcoming marquees,” Jeannette City Attorney Scott Avolio said.
After four bankruptcies, Monsour closed in 2006. Since then, it has deteriorated, defying all efforts to secure it from vandals and squatters.
The state Department of Environmental Protection has removed all bio-wastes, but the upper floors are charred from a dozen fires.
“Our firemen, our police officers – they’re all put at risk every time they have to come address one of those calls,” Avolio said.
The Monsour family, which pioneered quality medical care in the county, says they are devastated that their legacy has been scarred by the condition of the building which bears their name.
“For my uncles who founded the hospital, for me every time I drive by it, I just can’t even tell you the degree to which it disgusts us,” Dr. Michael Monsour, a family spokesman, said. “It’s just a very sad, sad turn of events.”
The obvious solution is to tear down the building and redevelop the six acre site, but the town which has condemned the building, doesn’t have the funds. And no one it seems will claim ownership of the property.
The non-profit board of directors all resigned years ago.
“Letters are returned undeliverable,” Avolio said. “They are not signed for. The phone calls are not returned.”
And anyone looking to buy the site will have to settle with a line of creditors, including the Monsours themselves who say they’re owed some $19 million that they put into the building over the years.
Although Michael Monsour says the family will not be an impediment.
“There’s no amount of money that could compensate for having to look at this as being your legacy,” he said.
But to date, no one has emerged to resolve the legal battles or come up with a plan.
So, for now and into the foreseeable future, Monsour Medical will continue to sit and deteriorate until all the responsible parties take responsibility, tear it down and redevelop the site.