Plan to Get Rid of an Eyesore in Saint Clair

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SAINT CLAIR -- Back when pictures were in black and white, the Ritz Theater in Saint Clair was the place to catch a movie in Schuylkill County.

"It was a good place to go. It was cheap and had a lot of good candy and a lot of good films," said William Bertsch from Saint Clair.

Today, not so much. No one has seen a movie there since the 1980s and the place on North Second Street is falling apart.

"It's a shame," Bertsch said.

The borough has tried to sell the building for years, but no one wants it.

Saint Clair borough council is figuring out how to demolish the thing. Council says it will probably cost about $60,000 to tear down, but people who live in Saint Clair say just do it.

"It's full with bird, how do you say it, poop. Is that a good word to use? And that's a big problem for respiratory problems," said James Connolly of Saint Clair.

Kathy Ciarvella lives behind the old theater and said, "You can smell that musty mildew smell coming out of it."

Neighbors say bricks from the old movie theater have already fallen onto their property and they want the building down before something even worse happens.

"The last eight years I could really see a big deterioration in it," said Ciarvella.

Connolly just opened a new business near the old theater. He hopes when that building is gone it will make Saint Clair look more appealing to other businesses.

"I mean look at it; it looks really bad. I'm ecstatic about it. I think a parking lot would look better than that does right there."

The borough plans to apply for grants to pay for a demolition.

Council members would like the building down by winter before mother nature does it herself.

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