To demolish or refurbish; that question is at the root of the debate over a building owned by the County of Erie.
For several years, Erie County Government has been looking for a solution in terms of what to do with the long-vacant former nurse home, Pleasant Ridge Manor – East.
As the Dahlkemper Administration comes forward with its latest proposal, those opposed are speaking out.
The Erie County Director of Administration, Gary Lee, says finding the best use of the space at Pleasant Ridge Manor-East has been a five-year process, and from their research, demolition appears to be the best, most cost-effective option.
“The administration has done its due diligence. We feel that this is the best option to tear down the property, to alleviate that expense, to have the property available for future use.”
Lee says maintaining the property costs the county up to $60,000 annually.
The County Controller, Mary Schaaf, is proposing the county use the property for storage. She tells us the county spends more than $160,000 leasing storage space from other buildings.
“As the watchdog for the taxpayers, when you’re paying three times as much for outside storage versus what it costs to maintain the Pleasant Manner East building — that’s a no-brainer.”
A local contractor, Brent Davis, says there have been enhancements made to the property in recent years and it could be salvageable with a cost-effective investment.
“The boilers were just replaced inside it ten years ago. There’s improvements that have been made and I don’t see any reason why this would cost $3.8 million to repurpose it for storage.”
But, the decision is in the hands of Erie County Council. A committee looking further into the issue is expected to share its findings with council in a month.
This building has been vacant since 2015.
The Director of Administration says the county explored several different options, including selling it, and repurposing it for other county offices.