More than a year after McKees Rocks sued ALCOSAN over construction plans related to its $2 billion clean water plan, the parties have agreed to explore mediation.
Borough first sued the health authority in March 2021alleging that plans to use commercial real estate land to dig a launch pit for an undersea tunnel would harm the economy and endanger the health of residents.
ALCOSAN has continually maintained that the plans were not set in stone and has sought to dismiss the case on the grounds that the underlying allegations as “speculative” take into account future events. But federal judge J. Nicholas Ranjan said in a May ruling that the case could proceed because the underlying claims were valid.
Ranjan filed a court order on June 28 referring the case to a third-party mediator, setting a meeting for July 26.
McKees Rocks Council President Archie Brinza says he’s confident the borough will get its top demands.
“We feel like we’re here and the courts are going to lean in our direction,” Brinza said. Pittsburgh City Paper. “[A]and I hope that ALCOSAN will have to start being attentive to all residents. »
“We’re tired of being walked on, we’re tired of being taken advantage of because it’s the status quo,” Brinza adds.
The borough’s biggest initial request was to prevent the demolition of the former Crivelli Chevrolet dealership, which officials said would further set back its struggling business community.
ALCOSAN purchased the property for approximately $2 million in December 2020. Spokesman Joseph Vallarian declined to release details at the time, other than confirming that the site would be used to advance the Water Sanitation Program — a long-term project aimed at reducing the discharge of untreated wastewater into public waterways.
Brinza says ALCOSAN has since assured the borough that he would not demolish the buildingbut he is now asking that they sell it and return it to the tax roll.
“Why hold this building hostage for 20 years?” says Brinza, who also says the borough has lost a significant portion of its annual revenue since the tax-exempt health authority took over.
In response to questions about the mediation order, Vallarian says ALCOSAN policy prevents him from discussing specifics.
“All I can tell you is that the Authority is participating in the mediation process, as required by the judge in the Federal Court case,” says Vallarian.