JEANNETTE (KDKA) — It was demo day at the site of an old, dilapidated hospital in Westmoreland County, and some local leaders got the chance to take the first swings.

It’s been a long time coming, but Thursday, the first steps were taken to demolish the old Monsor Medical Center in Jeannette.

After years of legal wrangling and gathering money, the Westmoreland Industrial Development Corporation in unison with the Westmoreland County Landbank delivered the first body blows to the derelict building.

“This was really an atrocity for everyone here in the county,” said state Sen. Kim Ward of the 39th District.

Outside, and inside as well. KDKA went into the old hospital several years ago and discovered old medical records and biological waste. The place was also a giant fire trap.

“It’s been a real drawback,” said Sen. Ward. “It sits on the main corridor in our county. So when anybody comes through here that hospital, that dilapidated building falling down is what they see.”

Sen. Ward was a prime mover and shaker to develop the Westmoreland County Landbank which streamlined the county’s ability to eliminate back taxes and liens, allowing the property to be purchased by the county and be redeveloped. In the hospital’s case, some $30 million worth of liens for the hospital.

“These types of complex situations just don’t happen in a vacuum,” said Jason Rongone, of the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. “They’re done in collaboration with partnership with many others.”

Once razed, the former hospital’s 6.4 acres will be opened up for economic growth.

“Today is the last time we’re going to use the term the former Monsour Hospital. Today marks the beginning of the Jeannette Redevelopment Project,” said Westmoreland County Commissioner Ted Kopas.

With traffic considerations on Route 30, this isn’t going to be an easy job. But, nevertheless, it’s anticipated the old medical center will be taken down and cleared by spring of next year.

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