By Jon Delano

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KNOXVILLE (KDKA) — Worried that a dilapidated public works building in Knoxville might collapse on city employees and Public Works vehicles, Pittsburgh operations chief Guy Costa says it will be closed and demolished in November.

“If we have a sufficient snowfall, the roof could come down, collapsing the building,” Costa told KDKA political editor Jon Delano on Monday. “We don’t want to jeopardize the safety of our employees, so by the end of the month our employees will be out of here.”

Once a bakery, the building shows years of neglect with water-damaged roofs and falling bricks.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

But it is base for forty employees and two dozen vehicles that clean streets, patch potholes, and salt and plow streets for the neighborhoods in division four, including Allentown, Arlington, Bon Air, Brookline, Carrick, Knoxville, Overbrook, and South Side.

For the time being, the salt dome will remain along with the fueling pumps for city vehicles.

As for the employees, they will be reassigned to divisions in the West End and Hazelwood.

“Twenty will be going to one facility and twenty will go to another. No one loses their job. No one loses seniority,” Costa said. “It’s just a matter that they will be reporting to a different facility.”

Costa says the city has not yet decided whether to replace this building with another facility right here in Knoxville or to merge it into the neighboring divisions.

In any case, says Costa, residents won’t feel much of a difference even in the coming winter.

“Really, the residents should not see any effect on their services, so everything should be fine,” he said.

Others are not so sure given the time to travel from Hazelwood and the West End to these neighborhoods, but Costa says repairing the building was too costly.

“We’re talking a million and a half dollars to renovate the building. It’s not worth it.”