Car barn is gone
CHRIS PARKER/TIMES NEWS The deteriorated former Kiddie Kloes factory looms over the rubble of the former industrial soap plant at 401 W. Bertsch St., Lansford. A goalpost on the Panther Valley School District football stadium can be seen at the left.
The walls came tumbling down, and what was once a sturdy hub of activity known as "the car barn" and more recently, a would-be industrial soap factory, is now a pile of dusty, broken bricks.
Now that the one-story building is gone, the Panther Valley School District is seeking bids for the installation of a chain-link fence to surround the area. Bids will be accepted until 1 p.m. Aug. 1.
The school district, which bought the massive, deteriorating red brick building for about $800 at a June 2010 Carbon County tax sale, demolished it to make the adjacent football stadium safer.
But before demolition could start, a hazardous materials contractor for the state Department of Environmental Protection hauled barrels of industrial chemicals, including various acids and hydrogen peroxide and other materials out of the building for safe disposal.
When the building was torn down, workers from Ritter & Paratore, the demolition company the school board had hired for $89,000 in June, pushed the rubble into the 4-foot deep foundation to fill it. The board has yet to announce what it plans to do with the space.
Before the school district bought it, the building was last owned by Bennett Verta Jr., who had envisioned it as housing his industrial soap factory, Everbrite Industries. But Verta's dream fell victim to a faltering economy before he could repair the structure. Its roof collapsed and its walls bowing, the building eventually wound up in the county's hands after Verta could not pay the taxes.