Frustration continues over Greenville Main St. closure

building collapse closes part of street in greenville, pa
Main Street in Greenville, Pa., after its initial closure in September 2015

GREENVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – The silence continues in Greenville, with Main Street’s continued closure, now hitting the two-month mark.

A building, which was condemned in August, is still in bad shape, and the town is in an uproar over why it is taking so long to fix the situation.

The condemned building, the former N.N. Moss store, has been standing downtown since 1870. A problem in the roof and on the upper floor has led Main Street to be closed since September 3, while the building’s safety is ensured.

“They told us this was for our safety, because this building was going to collapse at any time,” said Kathy Leonard of Kathy’s Kreations.

In early October, pedestrians had some limited access to the sidewalk, but now it has been completely blocked.

At first, the fight was over who owned the 47-foot tall building and who would pay for getting it fixed.

Now, the issue is between the business owners and the borough, right at street level. Those business owners say that their businesses are struggling as a result of the closure.

“It’s dividing our town. You can’t go past the barricade. They have it all tied up. They expect our customers to walk out the back door and go around the block to get down the street,” said John Rizzo of Greenville Shoe.

Heath DiSalvo, of Greenville News Depot, said the shop owners just want the road reopened, and as quickly as possible.

Because the borough of Greenville condemned the building while the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation closed the road, those decisions will only be reversed if an engineer signs off that the building is in no danger of collapsing.

WKBN has reviewed a couple of the engineer’s reports on the building, but those were completed in July, before the road was even closed.

The engineers say the situation has changed now, and it would not be fair to use their reports in making a decision to remove the barricades.

“Whether it will fall this winter, whether it will fall before winter gets here is anybody’s guess. What direction it goes will be anybody’s guess. We’re just trying to protect everything,” said Greenville Councilman Skip Peden.

Downtown business owners are holding an Open The Street rally on 4 p.m. Wednesday, hoping to persuade the borough and the PennDOT to take down the barriers and let traffic return.

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