FARRELL, PA. Council OKs deed change to proceed with project

The city solicitor has some reservations about changing the deed restriction.
FARRELL, Pa. -- City council has agreed to change the terms of a deed giving land to the Mercer County Community Action Agency, clearing the way for construction of the Independence Park project.
The agency wants to build a 10-unit apartment complex for mentally ill tenants on some vacant land in the 600 block of Spearman Avenue.
The city has agreed to provide the land, and lawmakers voted Monday to take seven vacant lots there by eminent domain to assure a clear title for the property deed that will be given to the agency.
The deed contained a reversion clause, however, which stipulates that, should the agency decide to sell the land before the project is finished, the city has the right to take the property back.
Wanted clause to be removed
The agency said the U.S. Department of Housing & amp; Urban Development, which is putting up the $714,700 to build the project, wanted that reversion clause removed.
The agency wants to be assured that it will have full control of the project from start to finish and would refuse to sign the grant documents for the project unless that clause is removed from the deed, the agency said.
Atty. Steve Mirizio, city solicitor, had some problems with the demand, pointing out to council that it was HUD that demanded that clause be put in past deeds for federally funded projects.
HUD warned that the project would be in jeopardy unless council agreed to strike the clause, however. HUD has given the county agency only until Nov. 30 to begin construction or lose the funding.
Council agreed to change the deed to meet HUD's demand and the project can now proceed, said LaVon Saternow, city manager.
Other business
In other business, council voted to file an application seeking a $500,000 grant from the state's capital budget to help redevelop parts of both a light industrial and a commercial district.
The state set aside the grant in May 2000 and the city has finally put a development plan together to use it.
Farrell will put up $500,000 from its industrial revolving loan fund and federal Community Development Block Grant accounts to match the state grant.
The project will expand Hillside Industrial Park overlooking Broadway Avenue in the city's Northwest Gardens area and improve the commercial area along Idaho Street between Spearman and Fruit avenues.
The city will buy four vacant commercial properties and four other vacant lots and will combine them with other city-owned properties in the area to create seven parcels to be sold for commercial development.

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