TAMAQUA — A different kind of downtown renewal is underway in Schuylkill County. A building with a lot of history behind it is being demolished.
On Wednesday, an excavator began pulling apart the three-story building on Mauch Chunk Street in Tamaqua. The operator had to be careful because there is a building on each side of the structure. The demolition contractor said the job has some other challenges.
“The guy who put the third story on here built it out of an old barn, and he salvaged some of the old beams in that way that floor is pretty unusual,” said Stan Lushinsky of Penn Earth Works.
Across the street, Rose Jean Zucuskie took pictures of the project. She has fond memories of the place when she was in high school.
“After basketball games, football games, we used to come down here and get cherry cokes, and cheeseburgers and cheesesteaks and all that, pizza. I know it’s the times, and things are changing, but it hurts when you lose some of your past,” said Zucuskie.
The businessman who bought the apartment building said once it’s down, he hopes to expand his strip mall.
“I own Hess Glass and Doors, and we’re here to stay, and we’re going to invest in the community both in infrastructure and the community itself and the people in it,” said Jeff Bonacci.
“I think it was a terrific idea, I think it will spur economic development, and anything that spurs economic is good for us all,” said Jack Kulp, a neighbor.
The building is located very close to Route 309, a major road in Tamaqua. That’s why some of the structure will have to be taken down by hand, and the building should be completely leveled by the end of the week.