Yet another downtown building in the historic village of Colver – this one housing a post office – is in need of repair.

Bricks have fallen from most of a side wall and lie in a heap. Only a few strands of yellow tape remain to warn of the hazard. A roof overhang has fallen down, and insulation protrudes.

Residents say it adds insult to injury.

They have waited more than a year for demolition of another dilapidated building in the same block of Reese Avenue – described as “a threat to public health and safety” by the town’s volunteer firefighters. The lengthy process of obtaining approval has delayed the razing.

Now, Cambria Township supervisors said they had been unaware of the number of fallen bricks at the building leased by the U.S. Postal Service. They speculated that the building’s owner, Sam Koban of Ebensburg, was doing a restoration and had a building permit.

But after inspecting the site Friday, supervisors said there was no permit and that they would investigate.

Koban on Monday said he is in the process of obtaining a permit and said he intends to restore the structure, built in 1911, to its original condition.

He referred other questions to Dave Hurley of First General Services, a contracting firm in Ebensburg.

“The insurance company had an adjuster there, and he called a structural engineer,” Hurley said.

“That was two weeks ago. Our hands are tied until the insurance company tells us whether there’s coverage or not,” he said.

Colver’s other problem building downtown is owned by the Cambria County Redevelopment Authority. It is rapidly decaying, with falling bricks and a sapling growing in the dirt between bricks on the second floor.

After several years of on-and-off complaints, residents and Colver volunteer firefighters started a year ago to push the township and county to eliminate the blight.

But the Conigy Building, part of the Colver Historic District and once a theater, will stand at least through the summer, and possibly into fall.

County Redevelopment Director Larry Custer says it isn’t his fault. “I’ve been working on it, and we are making progress. But it is not a simple process.”

One of the more cumbersome requirements was a hazardous materials inspection, which Custer said is on the way to being completed. “The hazardous materials inspector was in, checking for asbestos, any mercury in thermometers, and so forth. He took some samples, and I expect to get that report fairly soon,” he said.

Custer estimated the demolition could be advertised in May, with bids opened by July.

“That would mean that, by the end of August or September, the building could be gone.”

But Custer warned that delays in the bureaucratic process are possible. “It isn’t news until the wrecking ball smacks into the wall,” he said. “Then it’s news.”

Post office employees declined to comment, saying they are not authorized to answer questions from the media.

Cambria Township Supervisor Pete Berkoski said he would refer the matter to the codes enforcement staff to investigate and that, without a permit, any work would be halted.

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