Bellwood Borough Council reported in October that as far as they knew, the former Coaches Corner at 430 North First St. would be torn down. That was confirmed on Monday as a crew from Altoona Contractors worked to demolish the building.
The topic was brought up briefly and without elaboration at the September and October council meetings. The property owner did not respond to requests for further comment about the project at that time, and has not publicly shared information about plans for the site.
Mayor John Winesickle said the Borough was hoping the owner would follow through with the demolition of the building as it was in “bad shape,” with cement blocks and the ceiling falling in. Council advised there were also problems with mold and asbestos.
“I think it was June, July or August the corner of the roof caved in,” said Justin Langenbacher, Sr., a resident who has lived across from the building for 38 years. “The moldy smell coming out of it made it that you knew it was past due for something to be done. It feels great but weird to see it torn down.”
Langenbacher said he believes the neighborhood is generally happy to see the building — in the poor condition it was — be removed. It was left as a pile of rubble Monday afternoon.
“It’s about time that dilapidated building is torn down,” shared Richard Casady, Jr.
Residents shared brief thoughts like: “Had some good times in there,” “I celebrated my 21st birthday there,” and “I spent many a weekend there.”
Although it has been sad for some residents and former employees with many memories of times spent at Coaches Corner (previously called Cliff’s, then Shirley’s) to think of the building being demolished and now seeing that come to fruition, it was a necessary step for safety and town aesthetics.
“We have been pursuing public nuisances around town and will continue to work on this,” said Council President Herb Shelow.