SHAMOKIN, Pa. -- A vacant factory that is not only a cause of blight in a city in Northumberland County but also a threat to public safety is finally coming down.
The former Shroyer's Dress Factory in Shamokin got a "ceremonial" demolition as city and state officials tore down a wall as a way to mark the start of the project.
There's now a gaping hole in the wall of the former factory, and that's a cause for the city and the people living around it to celebrate.
After sitting vacant for the last 26 years, the city is moving forward to tear down the blighted and crumbling property.
“It's a relief,” said Tracy Nacinovich. “It's been an eyesore for quite some time.”
“It's been quite a while, and it's deteriorating,” said another neighbor.
It was Easter Day in April of last year when the building collapsed, knocking out power.
Shamokin Mayor John Brown says since then there was an urgent effort to get funding to tear it down.
“Last year, Easter, the building started to fall down. We lost power on Easter Day to 1,500 residents in the city of Shamokin, so that's progressed rapidly,” said Brown.
“A little bit of an inconvenience because I had no power here and I had to get stuff ready to take to my mother-in-law's for supper,” said Nacinovich.
Now, through a state grant of $600,000, work is set to begin.
Full on demolition work is expected to start this Wednesday, but tearing down one of the walls was done by state and city officials to ceremoniously mark the start of the project.
Mayor Brown was among those to take a seat in the excavator. He says its bittersweet to see the old building go, and he wanted a part in sending it off.
“Here's a building that was here for well over 70 years, and while coal was king here, the textile industry was queen,” said Brown. “There's thousands of families that were supported on that mill site, and now it's going to be gone.”
Shamokin's mayor says once the building is brought down and the site is cleared, the goal is to build housing for retired veterans.