Kulpmont Borough Council has been successful in getting the federal government’s attention in addressing the abandoned J.H. & C.K. Eagle Silk Mill and its pair of towering smokestacks that loom precariously over the west end of the borough.
The EPA’s Ann DiDonato and other officials have walked through the building several times in mapping out a plan for dismantling it. Good news came Aug. 22 with the approval of $2.5 million in EPA funds to assist with securing areas of the building and the cleanup of asbestos and unknown chemicals in two boiler rooms.
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The EPA is moving forward quickly because of safety concerns and it will seek reimbursement later from owner Dan Luzon, of Bronx, New York. Borough citizens, particularly those who live in the shadow of the giant eyesore, are no doubt appreciative of the prudent action.
After at first ignoring council members and the EPA, Luzon has wisely begun to cooperate and allow the remediation work to begin. We fear, however, that the government will have difficulty recouping that type of money from a property owner who failed to even pay his real estate tax bill for so long that the mill site nearly went on the judicial sale list earlier this summer.
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We do hope the EPA is successful, of course, and we certainly encourage government entities at all levels to pursue reimbursement from any property owner responsible for such a mess.
At the same time, we suspect it’ll turn out in Kulpmont as it has in Shamokin, where a disconnected and inconsiderate property owner was also permitted to buy a large buidling site-unseen and never acted to remediate it. We speak of the former Shroyer Dress Factory, which fell into such disrepair that taxpayers, through a $600,000 grant from the state government, are on the hook for the razing and cleanup.
Even so, it is indeed good news that the time for addressing these mammoth eyesores has finally arrived.