Owner of former dress factory cited for structure issues
SHAMOKIN - The owner of the former Shamokin Dress Company building on Bunker Hill has been cited for its decrepit condition 15 times since mid-November.
Stella P. Alli, 51, of Fall River, Mass., said she plans to begin cleaning the property within the next six months and to begin repairs within 24 to 36 months, according to a Dec. 4 letter to Shamokin code officer Rick Bozza.
She hopes to transform the first floor of 1008-1010 N. Shamokin St. into a nonprofit soup kitchen and convert the rest into affordable housing. She said she intends to seek loans, grants and donations to do so.
According to Bozza, the east wall is collapsing and endangers power lines. A section of the building has no roof and water has pooled inside. The building is unsecured and broken glass is in danger of falling onto the sidewalk and street.
Despite Alli's good intentions, Bozza said now that she owns the property, she's responsible for its condition. Her timeline, he said, is unacceptable.
"It needs to happen as soon as possible before something happens to that building from a public safety standpoint," Bozza said.
Known to many locally as the Shroyer building, it takes up a full block east to west between Shamokin and Rock streets and a half-block north to south between Cameron and Packer streets.
The city has long eyed the building for demolition, but to no avail.
Alli, a registered nurse, surprisingly purchased it for $100 June 20 from the Northumberland County repository list. Citations followed four months later after no progress had been made to correct structural deficiencies.
A certified letter was sent to Alli in October informing her the building is in violation and giving her 30 days to take steps toward compliance. Citations followed - eight in November, three in December and four already this month.
Bozza issued the first 14 citations. Cpl. Bryan Primerano issued the 15th and will continue to do so at least up until a hearing is held, Bozza said.
One of many
Bozza and Primerano have made a coordinated effort between the code and police departments to target some of the most blighted properties in the city. Several property owners have been repeatedly cited. The goal is for the property owners to either tear down the properties or bring them up to code.
Alli said in the letter that she had run into difficulty obtaining paperwork on the building, including blueprints. A sketch diagram was provided by the Northumberland County Assessment Bureau, she said, and she's been in touch with an architect.
She'll send the city an architect's designs and a business plan once completed, her letter states.